DOZENS of armed gardai were involved in a huge series of raids in west Dublin today, including a hotel which is managed by businessman Jim Mansfield Junior.
Detectives from the Organised Crime Unit were backed up by officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in the operation which was planned for weeks in advance.
The searches at Finnstown Castle Hotel in Lucan and apartments in the Citywest complex were still ongoing at lunchtime, after they started at dawn.
At least one solicitor’s office was raided as part of the massive operation.
This morning’s raid at the hotel in Finnstown was the second major security event in the past nine months.
Last May, a large bomb was discovered there which forced the evacuation of a wedding.
This had no link to this morning’s garda searches, according to sources. Last October, Jim Mansfield Jnr denied in an interview with the Herald that there was a threat against his life.
“I wouldn’t see any reason why anyone would want to harm me,” he said at the time. Insisting that he has “bigger worries”, a defiant Mr Mansfield claimed a threat to his life is “news to me”.
The son of the late hotelier, businessman and airport owner Jim Mansfield Snr made the remarks despite gardai saying that they had warned him of an “active threat” to his life.
The Herald had learned that detectives from Clondalkin Garda Station had officially warned Mr Mansfield that there was a threat against his life in early October.
Security sources said the associates of a notorious Traveller criminal had been approached about a possible attack.
These associates were linked to slain Traveller criminal ‘Fat Andy’ Connors. However, in an interview at the Finnstown Castle Hotel in Lucan where Mr Mansfield holds a management position, he denied his life was in any danger or that gardai had told him so.
He said he believed no criminals are after him or want to see him dead.
“The gardai never issued me with anything,” he said in the hotel’s lounge.
“It’s strange. The brother rang me about it, but I wouldn’t pay any heed to it. I wouldn’t see any reason why anyone would want to harm me, it’s just a strange set-up.
“This is news to me. Certainly, there’s no danger that I can see. I wouldn’t see where any of this is coming from, and that’s genuine. Is my life in danger? I’d pay no heed. I haven’t done anything on anybody. I do what I do every day.”
Mr Mansfield said he did not alter his usual routine as a person would likely do if they were issued with any notification of threats against him.
“It doesn’t worry me. I’ve bigger worries than that,” he said, when asked if he was in any way concerned about potential threats.
“I’ve got no notification of threats, nobody has come to me, nobody has spoke to me. I haven’t stood on anyone’s toes.”
Mr Mansfield currently runs the popular Finnstown House Hotel.
The property was once in the hands of the Mansfield family but went into receivership in 2011.
It was sold to Louth businessman Kevin McGeough for €4.25m a year later.
But the Mansfields are back running it again, and a bar at the property has been named Jim’s Bar.
Mr Mansfield was a regular on the celebrity social scene at the height of the Celtic Tiger years.
He had a relationship with tragic model Katy French, who collapsed and died after taking cocaine in the house of businessman Kieron Ducie in December 2007.
Mr Mansfield Snr died last January at the age of 75.