BONO'S EX-IRA BODYGUARD IS QUIZZED ABOUT SHOT POSTMAN
Cops detain Noonan for 48 hours in new probe
PROVO godfather John Noonan was arrested this week in connection with the brutal attempted murder of an innocent postman.
Noonan (57) was quizzed about his role in the sickening attack which left dad-of-two Robert Delany (29) in a permanent vegetative state.
Robert - who had no involvement in crime - was blasted in the head when he looked out the window of his apartment in Tallaght, Dublin, in October 2008.
It is believed the postal worker was targeted because he was involved in a minor row with a close associate of Noonan's.
On Monday, Noonan was formally arrested by gardai after they called to his home in Kilmartin Gardens in Tallaght. Detectives questioned the ex-IRA hardman about suspicions that he had an involvement in hiring killer Daniel Gaynor to shoot Robert.
Hitman-for-hire Gaynor (25), who is a suspect in four murders, was himself found gunned down near his home in Finglas last month.
Noonan was held for 48 hours on Tallaght Garda Station before being released without charge. A Garda spokesman said a file on the shooting has now been sent to the DPP.
Last night, a source told the Sunday World that Noonan met with terrified Robert in the Red Cow Inn days before he was shot in the head.
"Noonan agreed to meet with him in the Red Cow Inn to sort out the dispute.
"Robert was told everything was okay. But a few days later he was shot."
Last night, Noonan's son, Sean, told the Sunday World that his father did not want to comment on his arrest.
"No, he's away at the moment. We are directing everyone on to our solicitors."
In recent years, Noonan has made his living providing security for stars like Bono, Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett and Jonathan Rhys Myers.
He is involved with a private security company, Strand Security Services (SSS), whose clients include the Irish Film Board.
But despite his appearance as a respectable businessman, the convicted terror chief has links with notorious figures in Dublin's underworld.
In 2007, Noonan hit the headlines after he was hit with a massive €1.5 million bill by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB). The judgement came following an investigation into the assets of slain drug baron Martin 'Marlo' Hyland.
CAB officers discovered that the crime godfather had used the names of some of his associates to buy a number of properties in Dublin and Bulgaria.
They found a bank account through which he had lodged over €800,000. But one of the most remarkable discoveries they made was a direct link with Noonan - a founding member of the Concerned Parents Against Drugs (CPAD) in the '80s.
The scale of the interaction between Noonan and Hyland in Dublin was astonishing. Sources have revealed that one of Hyland's houses, a farmhouse in County Meath, has been directly linked to a company owned by Noonan.
Three large cash payments were made by the company and placed in the name of one of Hyland's close associates who 'fronted' the purchase of the house and land.
Following the CAB investigation, Noonan tried to claim that he did not know Hyland very well. However, the Sunday World subsequently revealed how Noonan had written a personal note to Hyland who he describes as a "true friend".
The note was written on a copy of Noonan's autobiography about his life and times in Sinn Fein and the IRA entitled 'What Do I Do Now?'.
In a personally-signed dedication to Hyland, Noonan wrote: "To Martin, A true friend, keep your head down and never react to others, I'm beside you. John."
In the same book, the hypocritical Provo recounts how he risked his safety and that of this family by taking on "scumbag drug dealers". When Hyland was gunned down in 2005, he was regarded by gardai as the biggest single drug trafficker operating in Dublin.
In a chapter headed 'Drug Thugs Threat', Noonan bragged about his work with the CPAD: "As the CPAD grew and grew, I was mostly the one to tackle the big drug dealers, to meet them and advise them to change their way or face the consequences."
Speaking to the Sunday World on Friday, Robert Delany's dad, Terry, said they were pleased the gardai are making progress.
"We are happy the investigation is still an on-going and progress is being made.
"The gardai in Tallaght have been brilliant, they have never let up. They have even come and visited Robert in hospital. We couldn't thank them enough."
Terry said his son has been left in a permanent vegetative state by the sickening attack.
"Robert has no prospect of recovery, he suffered severe brain damage.
"He looks the picture of health but there is no higher brain function.
"We have him home a couple of days a week now for a few hours but he will never get any better."
After Robert was shot,Terry - who is an official with the Communication Worker's Union - launched a high-profile campaign to bring his son's attacker to justice.
The family offered a €20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. Speaking for the first time, Robert's mum Noleen said she has been forced to give up hope of seeing her son get better.
"Initially, I was convinced he could make some sort of progress.
"After he was shot, we went in to the hospital to say our goodbyes and when I leaned over to kiss him he squeezed my hand.
"But his brain kept swelling and he didn't get any better.
"I'm in the hospital every day since he was shot and I'm hoping we can start taking him home each day in the near future."
She added: "Robert's two kids are a great comfort to us, we are very close to them."
Noonan was the adjutant officer of the Provisional IRA's Dublin brigade for most of the 1980s.
He was convicted of firearms offences in the 1970s and jailed for five years. However, a senior source have revealed he was 'excommunicated' by the IRA nearly ten years ago.
"He was part of a group of former Provos in Dublin who were told to stop using the IRA's name.
"One of Noonan's close associates was even brought up to South Armagh and kneecapped by the IRA."
Noonan owns properties in Wexford and Dublin, and apartments and a villa in Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca in Spain. His property portfolio was estimated to be worth about €1.5m, although the value has fallen because of the recession.
Noonan has previously denied having any financial links to Hyland but admitted meeting him to get information for a crime thriller he planned to publish.
In meetings with CAB, Noonan is thought to have discussed the IRA's money-laundering operations in Dublin in the 1980s.
Noonan claims his wealth comes from working in the security industry and by providing security to film production companies.