In her final article for the 'Sunday Independent',published this week, Veronica Guerininterviewed the wife of Tony Felloni, a jailedDublin drug baron
Friday, 28 June 1996
Tony Felloni, the heroin drug baron sentenced to 20 years imprisonment last Thursday, operated a vicering in Dublin over 30 years ago. His lengthy criminal record also includes convictions for larceny,armed robberies. assaults and drugs.Felloni was convicted of procuring young girls for immoral purposes and sentenced to three yearsimprisonment in 1964. He operated brothels from Dublin's tenements on Gardiner Street in Dublin'snorth inner city. Girls who had travelled to Dublin looking for work were offered accommodation byFelloni and then forced to become prostitutes to pay for their keep.It emerged at Felloni's trial that the girls were approached by him or those working with him at the GPOin O'Connell Street. Conned by his charm and beguiling smile, they happily took up his offer of hospitality. Their lives quickly became living nightmares as he viciously beat those who tried to escapehis vice dens. His vice activities came to the attention of the gardai, who began an investigation ...All his life Felloni has been involved in Dublin's underworld. Like many of Dublin's leading criminals,he progressed from petty crime as a juvenile to more serious crime as he got older.His wife Anne told me this weekend that when she first met him in 1966 she was unaware of hisconvictions for vice. "I was only out of prison myself. I had done a sentence in England for shoplifting.I remember meeting Tony in O'Connell Street; he was still dressed in a three-piece suit he got leaving prison."Her recollections of Felloni in their early years together are both happy and sad. "He was vicious withdrink and often knocked me about but then he'd be full of remorse."Felloni's criminal activities were part and parcel of his and Anne's life. It was the culture they grew upin and one to which they were accustomed. Their friends were fellow criminals and they enjoyed the benefits crime brought.Unlike other courting couples who went to the pictures, Anne and Felloni went shoplifting together.Anne has served many prison sentences for shoplifting and also for assaults.The heroin business for which Felloni became notorious began in the early Seventies. This arosethrough his association with the drug-dealing members of the Dunne family. According to his wife, "hesaw the money they were making and decided to get into it himself".