Presenter Mick McCaffrey

THE SECOND episode of TV3's new crime series Cocaine Wars examines the ease with which Ireland's most volatile crime boss, Brian Rattigan, arranged a murder from behind bars and shows how young criminals' rampant abuse of cocaine turned the Crumlin/Drimnagh dispute into the country's bloodiest gang feud.

The four-part series, based on a bestselling book by its presenter, and Sunday Tribune's security editor, Mick McCaffrey, examines in detail how the feud developed and was kept alive by the increasingly paranoid behaviour of young men hooked on cocaine.

The feud, which has so far claimed 16 lives, has dissipated in recent years due partly to the jailing of Rattigan for life.

The series shows how the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud quickly spiralled out of control and that many of the victims were low-level members, caught up in the crossfire.

The second episode, to be aired on TV3 on Tuesday, shows how Rattigan's life went into freefall after his younger brother Joey was murdered by enemies in revenge for Rattigan's murder of Declan Gavin.

As a result, Rattigan became one of the country's "most psychotic criminals", hell-bent on revenge. His cocaine abuse was so severe that he became reckless and aggressive enough to open fire with a shotgun at gardaí when travelling in a stolen car.

In Cocaine Wars, the differences between gang leaders such as Rattigan and his predecessors are highlighted.

Many modern-day gang leaders lack the self-control of earlier gang leaders such as Martin 'The General' Cahill and Martin 'The Viper' Foley because of the effect of the class-A drug on their behaviour.

The very drug that made Rattigan an extremely rich man also tore his life apart, damaged his psychological state and directly led to several murders.

In specific detail, the programme reconstructs how each murder was meticulously planned and carried out.

In episode two, it shows how Rattigan, while in prison, masterminded – through a series of phone calls and specific instructions – the 2004 murder of another man involved in his brother's death.

The emergence of Rattigan's nemesis Freddie Thompson is also chronicled and the programme reveals that garda Operation Anvil was established in response to escalating feuding between the two gang leaders, as well as criminals in Limerick.

Cocaine Wars provides a snapshot of the country's most bitter feud and how young men determined to exact revenge for each killing increasingly isolate and damage themselves.

Today, Thompson is unable to remain in Ireland for more than a few weeks at a time due to the threat to his life.

Rattigan continues to be consumed with hatred and plans for revenge in his dwindling position of power at Portlaoise prison.

Ultimately, the programme depicts how a group of young men – once a tightknit group of friends – destroyed their own lives and lives of countless others around them.

Cocaine Wars will be aired on tv3 at 9pm on Tuesday