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Armed garda operation in place to prevent escalation of tension after security alert at home of ex-Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall


Armed Garda . Picture: Frank McGrath

Armed Garda . Picture: Frank McGrath

Armed Garda . Picture: Frank McGrath

A major armed garda operation has been put in place to monitor leading Hutch gang associates following a security alert at the home of Jonathan Dowdall.

The former Sinn Féin councillor (44) this week admitted facilitating the 2016 Regency Hotel murder and will be sentenced on Monday.

Within 24 hours of his pleading guilty, three men with links to the Hutch gang, including a suspect for the hotel murder and another man who is a convicted killer, called to his Cabra home.

The alarm was raised, and gardaí said they had serious concerns about the sinister nature of the incident. The three men and a juvenile were later spotted outside a house in the Coolock area with a backpack before all four hurried inside.

A search of the home was subsequently carried out, but gardaí failed to find the bag, which was described as “containing something heavy”. They believe it was moved before they had an opportunity to carry out the search.

A source said: “The contents of the bag remain unknown, but there are concerns about what potentially could have been inside, particularly because of the efforts made to remove it from the scene.”

The Irish Independent has learned armed patrols have been ordered around the homes of two gang members to prevent any escalation in tensions.

Gardaí have also been briefed and told to exercise caution when approaching certain individuals linked to the gang.

Armed officers are involved due to the potential high-risk nature of the situation.

The armed patrols are being carried out around the north Dublin home of a criminal who was allegedly involved in the incident at Dowdall’s house on Thursday afternoon.

Aged in his 30s, he is also suspected of being one of the Regency Hotel gunmen who shot and killed Kinahan associate David Byrne on February 5, 2016. The criminal has survived a number of attempts on his life from Kinahan cartel associates in revenge, but has never been arrested as part of that investigation.

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Gardaí are also monitoring the home of a man aged in his 50s who lives in a separate part of north Dublin and is suspected of having long-standing links to the Hutch gang.

Sources said the security operations are being put in place to prevent any potential escalation in tensions.

It is understood no specific intelligence has been received about any planned violence.

It comes just days before the expected start of the high-profile trial at the Special Criminal Court in which Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch (58) is accused of the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel boxing weigh-in.

A significant security operation is also expected at the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street on Monday.

Co-accused Paul Murphy (59), of Cabra Road, and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, are also due to stand trial charged with supplying logistical support to a six-man team suspected of carrying out the murder.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Dowdall (44) and his father Patrick (65) pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of David Byrne by making a hotel room available the previous day to the gang involved.

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