Saturday 3 December 2016

Murder victim David Byrne (34) was one of the capital's most notorious gangland criminals

Ken Foy

Published 06/02/2016 | 11:02

Sean McGovern and David Byrne (right)
Sean McGovern and David Byrne (right)
Emergency services at the scene of the shooting.
The scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this afternoon... Picture Colin Keegan
The burned out van which Gardai suspect was used by the gunmen in the Regency Hotel shooyting this afternoonthis afternoon. Photo: Colin Keegan
Gardaí at the scene last night.
The scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this afternoon. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
The scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this afternoon. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
The scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this afternoon. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Garda forensic officers examine the entrance to the hotel
The fire brigade outside the Regency Hotel after the shooting.
David Byrne
Gary Hutch
The body of one of the victim is taken from the scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this this evening.
Police and forensic officers attend the scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Police and forensic officers attend the scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Police attend the scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne
A Garda outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin after one man died and two others were injured following a shooting incident at the hotel. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Police and forensic officers attend the scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Police and forensic officers attend the scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Police remove a body from the scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, Ireland February 5, 2016. One man was killed in a shooting during a weigh-in for a World Boxing Organization (WBO) title fight on Friday, local media reported. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
A Garda cordon outside the Regency Hotel in Dublin, as a major investigation was underway today after gunmen dressed up in police uniforms opened fire in the Irish hotel lobby, killing one man and seriously injuring two others, during a packed weigh-in for a European boxing title fight. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Gardai remove a body from the scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin
David Byrne from Raleigh Square in Crumlin.

The 34-year-old gangster shot dead in yesterday's bloodbath in the Regency Hotel was one of the capital's most notorious gangland criminals.

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David Byrne - from Raleigh Square in Crumlin - had been a key Dublin-based member of the Christy Kinahan cartel for years. He had been a chief target of specialist garda units.

Byrne - a first cousin of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson - was suspected of involvement in the importation of large amounts of drugs.

He was also believed to have been involved in attempting to smuggle rocket launchers into the country as part of the bitter Crumlin/Drimnagh feud.

His life of crime came to a brutal end when he was shot dead yesterday.

Targeted

However, two of his close pals had a lucky escape when they were targeted by the brutal four-man hit team.

Sean McGovern (30) - who is from Captain's Road in Crumlin - is understood to be in a serious condition in Beaumont Hospital after he was shot in the stomach.

Aaron Bolger (25) - from Killinarden in Tallaght - is being treated after he was shot in the thigh.

All three men were friends and were known to gardai. None of the trio are suspected of being involved in the murder of Gary Hutch, which is being looked at as the main motive for yesterday's chaotic attack.

Bolger is understood to have spent a lot of time in Spain in recent years where he is involved with the MGM gym in Marbella. Daniel Kinahan also works there with professional boxer Matthew Macklin.

While McGovern has few previous criminal convictions, he has been a close pal of murdered man Byrne and Byrne's thug of an older brother - Liam - since they were children, according to sources.

Sean McGovern - who is said to be clinging to life - had been in a car business with Liam Byrne (38) and was often spotted in his company.

In March 2012, McGovern and Liam Byrne and another cousin of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson - Liam Roe - were arrested in Liverpool.

They were questioned about making death threats, blackmail and possession of housebreaking implements. They were never charged in that case.

David Byrne had been arrested numerous times by gardai over the years.

He was suspected of being involved in the murder of Gary Bryan in Walkinstown in 2006.

He was cleared of firearms charges in relation to a shooting incident connected to the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud, which took place in August 2008.

Officers from the Organised Crime Unit arrested Byrne - who was with Eugene 'The Devil' Cullen, a now-deceased convicted murderer - after a 20-year-old man was shot in the lower torso in Ballyfermot.

Byrne was also called to give evidence in the murder trial of Brian Rattigan, his gangland rival, in February 2009.

He claimed that he could not remember anything unusual happening outside Abrakebabra on August 25, 2001, when Rattigan stabbed Declan Gavin to death.

Herald

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