Gym Wars: 'Mr Big' drug mob linked to arson attack on popular fitness centre
The ruthless 'Mr Big' drugs mob is suspected of carrying out a shocking arson attack on a gym after deciding it was a threat to their own fitness centre.
Garda investigations were continuing last night into the incident at the Dublin facility after a car was driven into the entrance and set on fire.
Two men were seen running from the scene at the Flyefit gym in the Coolock Retail Park on the Malahide Road after the attack at around 2.30am on Monday.
The Herald can reveal that gardai are investigating whether the attack was carried out by the Mr Big mob because the gangsters were concerned that the Flyefit gym was going to take away business from a northside gym that they control. No arrests have been made.
"The gym that the gang control is used and controlled by the individual who is known as 'Mr Big'. Intelligence has come in that he and his cronies did not want this other gym operational," a source said.
"So they are suspected of carrying out the attack on Monday morning to make a clear point. 'Competition will not be tolerated, get off our turf' is their message."
It has emerged that Mr Big, who cannot be named because he is facing serious charges before the courts, has been using his own gym for a number of crime summits.
He is not a registered owner or director of the premises, but is suspected of having a "controlling interest" in the facility.
A number of major mobsters have been spotted at this gym, including the gang boss himself.
Gangland boss Mr Big is considered one of the country's most dangerous criminals. The gangster, aged in his 30s, has links to both sides in the Kinahan\Hutch feud. However, his gang has not been active in the bitter gang war.
A close female associate of Mr Big is best friends with a woman who is believed to be in a relationship with cartel boss Daniel Kinahan.
Mr Big's mob is suspected of carrying out the brutal gun murders of Real IRA brothers Alan Ryan in 2012 and Vinnie Ryan last February as part of a separate extortion-related dispute.
The organised crime gang is considered the biggest drug-dealing organisation on the northside and its members have also been involved in tiger kidnappings.
The Mr Big gang has also been linked to a spate of gangland murders, including that of missing man Patrick Lawlor from Darndale, whose suspected slaying in December, 2004, has been the focus of garda searches at Belcamp House this week.
Gang members are also chief suspects in the double murder of cousins Glen Murphy (19), of O'Devaney Gardens, and Mark Noonan (23), from Drumalee, both in the north inner city. They were shot dead outside a service station at Tesco Express at the Clearwater Shopping Centre in Finglas in 2010.
The gym that was targeted on Monday morning has no links to criminality and is part of a respected chain of gyms in the capital.
Local workers told the Herald that the gym, which runs on a 24-hour basis, only opened in the last six to eight weeks.
"They had been working in it for two or three months before that, putting in all the equipment. It's shocking to see all the damage now," said one man.
Two heavy turnstiles at the entrance to the gym prevented the car being driven any further into the gym.
"It's a good job those turnstiles were there, otherwise people could have been badly injured or killed," said the worker.
The gym's website advertises the services it offers, including free weights, racks and lifting, cardio area, strength machines and more than 60 free classes a week.