Minister for Justice to meet Garda Commissioner on latest gangland slaying
Ireland's police and justice chiefs are holding talks today amid fears more death threats are circulating in a gangland feud which has claimed three lives.
The latest victim was Eddie Hutch, a middle-aged man shot a number of times last night in his home in Dublin's north inner city in an apparent retaliation for a fatal gun attack at the Regency Hotel last Friday.
The dead man was a brother of Gerry Hutch, nicknamed The Monk, who made a settlement worth millions with authorities over the proceeds of crime and money laundering in the late 1990s.
Those men are the uncles of Gary Hutch, who was believed to be the first victim in the bloody feud which stretches from Dublin's inner city to the villas and clubs of Spain's Costa del Sol.
The 33-year-old was gunned down almost five months ago at the Angel de Miraflores apartment complex in Mijas, with reports at the time saying that his killer chased him around a pool before murdering him.
At least four masked men were involved in the Hutch murder just off North Strand on Dublin's north side, with the BMW 3 Series used in the killing found abandoned a short distance away near Drumcondra.
His brother "The Monk" spoke out in 2008 when interviewed by RTE to admit he was a criminal, but denying he was a drug dealer or hitman. He insisted his money came from shrewd property deals.
The shooting followed the Regency Hotel attack last Friday, where David Byrne was killed and two others who remain in hospital were seriously injured by a six-strong gang, three of whom were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and dressed in Swat team uniforms and helmets.
The incident took place at the weigh-in ahead of a lightweight bout between Dublin fighter Jamie Kavanagh and Portuguese boxer Antonio Joao Bento, which was promoted by Frank Warren and MGM Promotions, based in Marbella.
In the immediate aftermath, Mr Byrne's murder was linked to a feud between major Irish organised crime outfits who operate between Dublin and the south of Spain, with speculation that it was a direct retaliation for the Hutch murder.
There were also reports that Daniel Kinahan, who manages some boxers in the MGM camp, was in the Regency at the time of the attack.
He is the son of Christy Kinahan who was arrested in a mansion in Spain in 2010 as part of an investigation into an international drugs and money laundering racket. Kinahan senior has not been charged.
The concern now is that the further reprisals will be carried out.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald appealed for any other gang members who fear for their lives to come forward and seek protection.
"It seems that some gangs are intent on waging a feud where human life counts for nothing," she said.
"The gardai will take all necessary steps to try to prevent further bloodshed, but we have to recognise the challenges they face. Members of gangs who have fears for their safety should come forward to the gardai."
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and senior investigators will hold talks with the minister over the escalating feud.
Gangsters apparently attempted to muddy the waters by issuing a statement to the BBC in Belfast, purportedly from the dissident republican Continuity IRA and claiming responsibility for the Regency attack.
Senior gardai initially ruled out terrorist involvement for the Regency attack.
The claim also drew scepticism from seasoned commentators in Dublin, while the top brass in the Garda said they were keeping an open mind but pointed to a "criminal" element.
In a statement the Garda press office said: "Gardai are aware of the recent statement to the media and are keeping an open mind in relation to the criminal groups involved as part of their investigations."
In a second statement, issued to the Irish Daily Mirror hours later and again purportedly from the Continuity IRA, dissident republicans dismissed the first claim as bogus.