Belfast Irish Republican Army (IRA) dissident leader Tommy Crossan, who was a former high-ranking member of the Continuity IRA (CIRA), was shot multiple times to the head and body in a gangland execution that occurred on Good Friday in West Belfast. It is believed the father of six was slain by former IRA associates he had parted ways with and his life has been threatened since 2008, after he was accused of extorting CIRA funds and becoming a police informant.
Crossan, who was a Belfast native and 43-year-old husband, father, and grandfather to five, was approached by a gang of three armed men at his place of work, brutally slain, and died at the scene. According to dissident sources, Crossan was assassinated on the orders of a West Belfast criminal leader, who was once a personal friend and comrade of Crossan, but whom later vowed to kill him in April of last year.
According to police, Belfast IRA dissident leader Tommy Crossan was slain in a brutal and barbaric fashion. Authorities have made an appeal to the public for information regarding the gangland execution. Crossan was a known figure to police, but the census was that no one deserved to die in such an outlandish manner. The killing was similar to the circumstances surrounding the recent death of 26-year-old Kieran McManus, who had been gunned down just after finishing his delivery work at Domino’s pizza place in Kennedy Way before being ambushed by a three-man assassin team. McManus was also known to police for his involvement in a brutal street brawl in Turf lodge, during which the pizza delivery man and his elder brother, Joseph, were accused of the attempted murder of Michael Smith, who nearly lost an arm in the two-hour fight in April 2010. He was handed an 18 month suspended sentence in relation to the crime. Moreover, in both murders, the getaway cars were dumped a short distance from the murder scenes.
Crossan was no stranger to criminal activity or violence and spent most of his life involved with criminal elements. In recent months, it had been reported that Crossan was attempting to build a new IRA terror splinter group. Additionally, there was speculation that Crossan had helped to assemble the Irish Volunteers group, which was suspected of masterminding a series of security alerts across Belfast in the past year. The CIRA was divided and ties were severed in 2010 over the charges lodged against Crossan and his fellow associates, which they denied any wrongdoing. At the time of his exile from the group, Crossan had been one of the organization’s highest-ranking members. Additionally, he was jailed and sentenced to 10 years in Maghaberry prison following an artillery attack on the Woodburn Barracks in West Belfast in 1999. After his prison stint, he re-joined the CIRA organization again. In 2008, he and an associate were convicted of trying to extort a large sum of money from a businessman. Crossan received no prison time for his role in the crime, while his co-conspirator was given a nine-year prison stint. Moreover, it was at this time that accusations arose regarding Crossan becoming a police informant. As a result of his actions, he was deemed a traitor to Ireland and the cause.
Belfast IRA dissident leader Tommy Crossan, who was nicknamed “Teflon Tommy” for his ability to evade police and death threats against him, was slain on Good Friday in a gangland-style execution. He was expelled years earlier from the CIRA after he was accused of extorting a large sum of funds from the group and accused of being a police informant. It is believed that Crossan was assassinated on the orders of a former personal friend and associate who vowed to kill him on April 6 of last year. Crossan was slain just over a year to the date of the issued death threat. Authorities have not released the name of the suspected West Belfast criminal leader who issued the death threat against Crossan and could have played a role in his death. However, a 26-year-old man was detained and questioned in connection with the killing of the former Continuity IRA member and authorities were investigating Crossan’s relationships with former CIRA comrades. At the time of his death, there was speculation that Crossan was planning to leave Belfast and possibly move to Limerick to evade death threats directed against him.
By Leigh Haugh