Friday 18 January 2019

Man who helped criminal organisation murder Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan jailed for ten years

Jason Keating, of Rush, Co Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Kirwan
Jason Keating, of Rush, Co Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Kirwan

Alison O’Riordan

A man who helped a criminal organisation murder Noel ‘Duck Egg’ Kirwan has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for ten years.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt today called the facts of Mr Kirwan's murder "chilling and disturbing".

The non-jury court previously heard that Jason Keating played a role of “real significance” in the murder as he was present at the scene of the shooting in Clondalkin, was in contact with the person who monitored movements recorded by a tracking device and provided this information via a phone to the assailant who had approached Mr Kirwan's car and discharged the firearm.

A 'Gotek7’ tracking device was put under Mr Kirwan's car in the weeks leading up to his killing and this could be linked to Keating in the days preceding the murder.

Mr Kirwan was sitting in his new Ford Mondeo car on December 22, 2016 when a gunman shot him six times with a Makarov handgun which was later recovered at the scene.

The 62-year-old, a “long-time” friend of Gerry “the Monk” Hutch, suffered eight gunshot wounds in total to his head, right arm, chest and abdomen. The murder of Mr Kirwan arose from a "notorious feud" between two criminal factions but the deceased had no connection with either side.

Jason Keating (27), of Lower Main Street, Rush, Co Dublin admitted in October to participating in or contributing to activity intending to facilitate the commission by a criminal organisation or any of its members of a serious offence, namely the murder of Mr Kirwan at St Ronan’s Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 between December 20 and 22 2016, both dates inclusive.

The offence is contrary to organised crime legislation brought in by Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 and has a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Keating was originally tried for the murder of Mr Kirwan but midway through his trial on October 18 he pleaded guilty to facilitating a criminal organisation in committing murder and this plea was accepted by the DPP.

The three-judge court entered a “nolle prosequi” on the original charge of murder. This means the State will not be proceeding with the prosecution in relation to the count of murder.

Prosecution counsel Paul Greene SC said at Keating’s sentence hearing last month that the activities by the criminal organisation could be traced back to early November 2016 but the defendant’s individual contribution began on December 20 that year.

Sentencing the defendant today, Mr Justice Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinead Ni Chualachain and Judge Cormac Dunne, sentenced Keating to ten years imprisonment, backdated to May 2, 2017 when he went into custody.

The father-of-three has 25 previous convictions which include road traffic and public order offences.

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