Saturday 24 August 2019

'Border Fox' paid €10k to act as security for Dublin businesses

Mansfield Jnr met O'Hare 'but didn't hire him'

DESSIE O’HARE: Ex-INLA man faces jail for violent offences
DESSIE O’HARE: Ex-INLA man faces jail for violent offences
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Dessie O'Hare was paid about €10,000 a week to provide security to businesses in Dublin, according to informed sources.

Gardai believe the ex-INLA figure known as the 'Border Fox' paid other associates out of the €10,000 sum but pocketed a substantial portion of the money himself.

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O'Hare was suspected by gardai of selling security services to businesses and individuals under pressure following the economic crash.

O'Hare told gardai that he was hired by Jimmy Mansfield Jnr, son of the late self-made billionaire Jim Mansfield, to help with an eviction, the Special Criminal Court heard last week.

O'Hare, who pleaded guilty, will be sentenced on Thursday for falsely imprisoning Martin Byrne, a security guard who worked for Mr Mansfield's father for 20 years. He also assaulted a second man at the Towers in Saggart, in a vicious attack that was captured on CCTV. Mr Byrne is now in a witness protection programme.

Jimmy Mansfield Jnr confirmed to the Sunday Independent through his solicitor that he met O'Hare and he was "at his hotel" but denied hiring him - or anyone else - to carry out an eviction. He attended a "short pre-arranged interview" with gardai who put O'Hare's allegation to him, he denied it, and the inquiry "went no further". In a separate statement, his solicitor, Kevin Winters, said he had written to gardai seeking the "basis of the allegations" and warned that his client "will litigate" to protect his reputation as a "businessman of standing".

Jimmy Mansfield Jnr was implicated in the trial by gardai in evidence to the Special Criminal Court. Superintendent Colm O'Malley said relations between Martin Byrne and Jimmy Mansfield Jnr had deteriorated. In June 2015, he brought Mr Byrne to a meeting in an industrial estate unit, at which O'Hare and another INLA figure, Declan Duffy, were waiting.

Gardai told the court that Jimmy Mansfield left the unit, leaving Mr Byrne with the INLA men. The court heard that he was assaulted and his wife and children were removed from their apartment. A second man who attempted to stop the gang's entry to the estate was taken out of his home and attacked in a violent group assault that was captured on CCTV.

Jimmy Mansfield Jnr's disputed association with O'Hare is the latest in a series of controversies.

Once one of the richest families in Ireland, Jim Mansfield Snr, a self-made billionaire, developed the Citywest hotel and residential complex in west Dublin,and amassed an estimated €1.7bn fortune. He lost it all in the property crash. Many of his assets were taken over by the National Asset Management Agency, and his empire was dismantled. He died in 2014, and his family took over what remained of the businesses.

In recent years, Finnstown Castle Hotel, which Jimmy Mansfield managed, was one of several premises raided by the garda's organised crime unit.

A bomb was discovered in a car parked in the grounds of the hotel, forcing the evacuation of a wedding.

In past interviews, Mr Mansfield told the Independent that he wasn't worried about reports of a threat to his safety from criminals. In another interview, he said he had no links to criminality, had never laundered money and was not involved in the IRA. "It is all bullshit," he said.

At his sentencing hearing last week, Dessie O'Hare's counsel pleaded for leniency, and asked the court to view the incident as isolated. Judge Tony Hunt said the possibility of a non-custodial sentence was "unlikely". O'Hare was last jailed for kidnapping and imprisoning dentist John O'Grady. He was released 13 years ago.

Sunday Independent

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