Veronica Guerin: The first shooting

Two weeks after Veronica Guerin was shot in the leg in January 1995, John Traynor was arrested and questioned at Coolock Garda Station under the Offences Against the State Act. “He said plenty” recalled a detective “but he implicated neither himself nor anyone else”.


Veronica was shot with an old .45 revolver similar to that used to shoot the Social Welfare officer who had investigated Martin Cahill. Two men on a motorbike pulled up at her Cloghran home and the gunman shot her in the hallway. Forensic reports show that reloaded ammunition was used (discarded shells picked up from the security forces' firing ranges which are then filled with melted lead). The gun was resting either on, or inches from, her thigh and the slug entered her leg from a slightly upright position. It lodged at the rear of her femur and flattened.
“Her injuries were freakish, this type of bullet is meant to do a lot of damage but she was left with a small white scar the size of a five pence piece,” said the detective. “It was not a professional job.”
The gunman ran out but got stuck in the mud and left a pair of brown casual shoes behind. Detectives also recovered a navy windcheater and the gun.
Two men in the early 20s were arrested, among them the drug addicted son of an infamous Dublin gangster and a man from Cabra. A third man from the north inner city was also a suspect. Veronica later told colleagues that she discovered that Traynor set up the attack to ingratiate himself with Martin Cahill's family. They were incensed over an article called the Three Sisters which highlighted Cahill's bizarre sex life and for which Traynor was the main source.
According to a criminal associate, Traynor later boasted that he “had her done”.  
Some weeks after the shooting, Traynor and a woman friend from Sandymount, were sitting in a bar when Guerin joined them. They had a friendly conversation. When Veronica left, the woman asked Traynor how he could have acted so normally after what he had done. Some time later, Veronica learned of his involvement but continued to rely on him as a source until shortly before he attempted to injunct her and The Sunday Independent from publishing material about him.
The garda inquiry was inconclusive and there is no hard evidence to link Traynor to the shooting. However, officers from the Lucan-based investigation and the original investigation say that Traynor remains the primary suspect.