Thursday 23 November 2017

'He feels he can't return to Dublin anytime soon' - Top cartel target flees to England amid fears for his life

James Gately (inset) and (background) the scene of May's botched murder attempt on Gately
James Gately (inset) and (background) the scene of May's botched murder attempt on Gately
Michael Keogh

Robin Schiller

A key member of the Hutch mob who is a top target for the ruthless Kinahan cartel has fled to England over fears he would be targeted in his bolthole in the North.

James 'Mago' Gately (30), who has survived two attempts on his life in recent months, had been hiding out between Newry and Belfast.

However, the Herald can reveal that Mago has decided to flee to the north of England because of increasing fears that the cartel may target him again.

This is despite a number of cartel associates being based in the Birmingham area.

It is understood that revelations of a dissident republican link to an attempt on Gately's life in May led to fears that he could be targeted in the North.

The Herald previously revealed how a dissident republican with links to the RIRA was quizzed by gardai over the attempt to murder Mago.

"Mago is feeling very isolated recently after a series of arrests and feels he can't return to Dublin any time soon after the attempt on his life. He feels safer in England," a source last night told the Herald.

"He is still a top target for the cartel, especially after he said the feud wouldn't end until Daniel Kinahan is killed."

James 'Mago' Gately
James 'Mago' Gately

Gately, who is originally from Dublin's north-inner city and was a close friend of slain Gary Hutch, is also believed to have fallen out with the perceived leader of the Hutch mob.

"Mago is distancing himself from the gang, and feels that the current main man has landed the criminal gang in unfixable trouble, so he is basically getting away until things are sorted," the source said.

"He is always loyal to the Hutch mob, but he seems to want to break the link from the current leader."

It has also emerged that Gately is not the only thug linked to the Hutch mob who has become disillusioned with the apparent leader of the gang.

A violent convicted criminal is openly speaking out against the mob boss, whom he blames for the murders of Gary, Gareth and Eddie Hutch Snr.

A number of under-threat Hutch associates had been holed up in Northern Ireland, but have fled in the last three months following several successful garda operations against the gang.

These include a criminal who has survived attempts on his life by members of the Kinahan cartel.

UK authorities have been liaising with gardai over associates of both gangs living in that jurisdiction.

Michael Keogh
Michael Keogh

In May, Gately was shot up to five times outside a petrol station near Dublin Airport by a masked gunmen.

He was wearing a bulletproof vest and was struck at least once in the neck, but has since made a good recovery.

In August, gardai made their first arrest in relation to the botched shooting when a 26-year-old Meath man was detained in the Duleek area.

He was taken to Santry Garda Station, where he was questioned for a number of days before being released without charge.

Sources say gardai suspect the man, who has few previous convictions, has "important knowledge" about the shooting of one of the capital's most notorious gangland figures.

Although he was previously not known for any involvement in gangland crime, he does have links to dissident republicans.

In June, a man in his 50s was also questioned at his Co Louth home about the attempted murder but not arrested.

Gardai believe the criminal supplied a vehicle that was used in the shooting. It is not thought to have been the getaway car, but could have been used either before or after the attack.

Armed detectives who raided the man's home also seized his vehicle, which was taken away to be examined by forensics teams.

The suspect has long-standing links to the dissident republican movement and has previous convictions for firearms offences.

In April, Gately survived a separate credible threat to his life after gardai foiled a murder plot at an advanced stage.

So far, 12 people have been shot dead as part of the Hutch/Kinahan feud. The latest victim was father-of-two Michael Keogh, who was gunned down in the north-inner city on May 31.

Keogh (37) was not considered a major criminal but was associated with members of the Kinahan cartel.

Gardai suspect that he was murdered by associates of the Hutch gang.

The first killing linked to the feud was carried out more than two years ago, when Gary Hutch was shot dead near an apartment complex in Spain.

Hutch (34), a nephew of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, was gunned down by cartel associates in September 2015.

Since then gardai have carried out a massive offensive against both gangs, which has led to some 40 firearms and €55m in drugs being recovered.

More than 30 people are also before the courts in relation to crimes linked to the feud.

Herald

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