Saturday 3 December 2016

Kids with walkie talkies acting as spotters during gangland wake

Gardai braced for arrival of Kinahan kingpins for funeral of slain gang member David Byrne

Published 14/02/2016 | 02:30

SECURITY: Amed gardai on patrol in Cork Street yesterday. Photo: Collins
SECURITY: Amed gardai on patrol in Cork Street yesterday. Photo: Collins
TRIBUTES: Flowers placed outside the Regency Hotel

An unprecedented security operation is under way this weekend as the suspected drug trafficker who was the target of the gangland gun attack at the Regency Hotel is expected to fly to Dublin to attend the funeral of his slain associate.

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Daniel Kinahan, son of Spain-based drugs kingpin, Christy, fled the capital last weekend after he escaped through the back window of the Regency Hotel.

Garda sources are preparing for Kinahan, and quite possibly his father, Christy, patriarch of the drugs dynasty, to return to the capital this weekend, in a show of defiance.

Gardai fear the presence of the drugs king and his son in the capital will be a further antagonism in the brutal gangland feud between the Spanish-based cartel and the Hutch gang that has so far claimed three lives and brought armed patrols on to the streets of the capital.

The feud between the Kinahan drugs cartel and the Hutch gang in the north inner city, which started with the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain, led to the assassination of David Byrne at a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel last Friday week by gunmen disguised as gardai.

Daniel Kinahan, the intended target, escaped through a rear window. Eddie Hutch, a taxi driver who was not involved in crime, was gunned down in revenge last Monday.

Gardai are preparing for more reprisal killings as tensions escalate between the warring gangs.

Twenty-four hour garda checkpoints are operating on all three approach roads to the Byrne's family home on Raleigh Square, Crumlin, where his remains are being waked before his funeral tomorrow.

Gardai at the shattered front door of murder victim Eddie Hutch, in the North Strand area of Dublin, Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Gardai at the shattered front door of murder victim Eddie Hutch, in the North Strand area of Dublin, Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Anyone driving through Kildare Road, Old County Road and Windmill Road have to be vetted by gardai. Eyewitnesses reported the extraordinary sight of children as young as 10 or 11 holding walkie talkies lining the streets in the vicinity of the south city.

They were apparently "on look-out" duty, monitoring passing cars and talking into their walkie talkies, a sign of the heightened tensions in the community amid fears of reprisals.

The body of Eddie Hutch Snr is removed from a property in Poplar Row, Dublin, this week. Photo: PA
The body of Eddie Hutch Snr is removed from a property in Poplar Row, Dublin, this week. Photo: PA

A cordon of armed security will effectively shut down the Liberties in the south inner city where a funeral service for Byrne, a father of two, will take place at the church of St Nicholas of Myra on Francis Street. Gardai have significantly advanced their investigations, including unearthing new detail that suggests the extraordinary level of planning that went into the gun attack in the Regency Hotel that sparked the violence in Dublin.

• Up to 12 men are now suspected of being involved in organising the gun attack on the Regency Hotel. Gardai last week said six men carried out the attack. After studying CCTV footage, it has emerged that up to six other known associates of the Hutch gang were in the hotel or in its vicinity at the time of the gun attack. Gardai are investigating whether these men were scouts for the gunmen.

• Detectives are now satisfied that three gunmen armed with AK-47s were disguised as gardai and there was speculation that a fourth man who sat in a waiting getaway van outside the hotel was also armed and kitted out in garda riot gear.

• Detectives also believe that all three men in the "hit squad" spoke with Dublin accents, ruling out speculation that they were hired assassins flown in from abroad.

Flowers left outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel where a weigh-in for a boxing match was taking place
Flowers left outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel where a weigh-in for a boxing match was taking place

• A gunman dressed in drag and a man in a peaked cap, who were the first of the hit team into the Regency, have been identified as an associate of the Hutch gang from the north inner city. His accomplice is believed to be a Northern Irish man who is known to the police.

• Gardai are investigating whether former republican terrorists provided logistical support or weapons to the gang.

Eddie Hutch’s murder was in response to the attack at the Regency Hotel. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Eddie Hutch’s murder was in response to the attack at the Regency Hotel. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

• External hackers made two separate attempts to stop the record function in the CCTV system at the Regency Hotel in Dublin the day before the attack on the Regency Hotel. Management at the hotel said the CCTV system was interfered with on the Monday before the gun attack, but security experts were brought in to repair it.

On Thursday, the system again stopped working when the "record" function of the CCTV was shut down.

The apparent malfunction was picked up by hotel management who again called in security experts who suspected an attempt had been made to hack into the system.

Gardai are investigating whether the suspected hacking attempt was a deliberate ploy by the gang to shut down security cameras in advance of the audacious gun attack carried out in broad daylight in a hotel packed with 300 people. Gardai are also investigating whether republican terrorists supplied logistics, weapons or any form of back-up to the gang that carried out the Regency Hotel attack. Specialists have also obtained crucial forensic evidence from the getaway car used by four gunmen who shot dead Eddie Hutch.

The gang were forced to abandon the car because of armed garda patrols, leaving behind a balaclava and finger prints on an unused bottle of petrol intended to set the car on fire. A death notice published on Friday said that David Byrne is the "beloved father of Daisy and Dottie, loving son of Sadie and Jemmy, beloved partner of Kellie and loving brother of James, Joanne, Melanie, Maria and Liam".

Sunday Independent

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