Criminal experts to go head to head at Kildare Readers Festival

The career of New York Police Department detective Peter Daly will be put under the microscope at Hotel Keadeen this Saturday during a Kildare Readers Festival fringe event.

The career of New York Police Department detective Peter Daly will be put under the microscope at Hotel Keadeen this Saturday during a Kildare Readers Festival fringe event.

Newbridge crime journalist Eamon Dillon of the Sunday World, and formerly of the Leinster Leader, will talk to local author James Durney about his forthcoming book on the Irish-born law enforcer.

The talk, called ‘Gangsters and Goodfellas’ promises to be a lively examination of the Donegal-born crooked cop’s career.

An illustrated slide show will display photos from the forthcoming book, due to be published next year, and mugshots of the main characters. It promises to be an exciting event as the two Kildare authors discuss New York Goodfellas and Irish gangsters and draw comparisons to Ireland’s burgeoning underworld.

Peter Daly emigrated from Donegal in 1952 and after a stint with the US Army in Korea joined the New York Police Department.

As a patrolman, Daly worked the high-crime area of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. His beat put him in contact with organised crime figures like cop-killer Mad Dog Frankie Falco and hitman Red Levine.

After a string of arrests Daly was promoted to detective and joined the notoriously corrupt Special Investigating Unit. Here Daly made one of the unit’s biggest drug busts – the ‘100 kilo case,’ which was bigger than the celebrated French Connection drugs bust of the 1960s.

Daly went on to investigate some notorious murders and heists, including the famous Hotel St. Pierre robbery.

In 1974, after a car accident, he left the Police Department and returned to Ireland, but was arrested in England and extradited to the US to face corruption charges. Daly was offered his freedom if he co-operated, but he refused to testify against his former colleagues.

In Manhattan’s remand prison he shared the cell of mafia Godfather Tom Di Bella. Daly was sentenced to 10 years for corruption, which he served in Lewisburg Penitentiary under the protection of mobsters like Jimmy Burke and Paulie Vario of the movie ‘Goodfellas’ fame.

He also met Goodfella Henry Hill in prison and many other underworld figures who nicknamed Daly ‘The Quiet Man,’ because of his refusal to ‘talk.’ Daly was paroled to a halfway house, the Hotel Bryant, in February 1979, where he met Tommy DeSimone and Jimmy Burke, then on parole, who executed the $8 million Lufthansa robbery at JFK International Airport.

Naas man James Durney is an author and historian who works in the Local Studies and Genealogy Department, based in Newbridge Library.

He is the author of nine books on local and Irish history. He has written extensively on the history of Kildare and on Irish history in general. James has worked on several TV projects for RTE and TG4 as a researcher. Two of his books have been the basis of TV documentaries – ‘Mobs Mheirica’ and ‘War Stories – Korea’.

Eamon Dillon is the author of ‘The Outsiders: Exposing the Secretive Life of Irish Travellers’ (2006) and ‘The Fraudsters: How Con Artists Steal Your Money’ (2008). He has worked as a crime journalist with the Sunday World since 2001 and has written extensively on Ireland ’s criminal underworld.

In 2009 he won the Ruhama in Journalism Award for articles on the people who profit from Ireland’s illegal vice-trade and those involved in trafficking. He is also regular contributor on current affairs TV and radio and has been a guest speaker at the Toronto Police Fraud Squad’s annual conference and at Google headquarters in Dublin.

‘Gangsters and Goodfellas’ starts at 3.30pm on Saturday, October 13. Tickets are free and can be pre-booked at or by calling 045 448327.