Kinahan cartel hit squad stalked 'Duck Egg' associate for days before failed hit bid
- Criminal (24) is a close associate of murdered Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan
- He was accused of seeking revenge over the shooting
- 'A terrible tragedy has been averted'
A 24-year-old criminal who is a close associate of slain Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan was the intended target of the latest Kinahan cartel hit foiled by gardai.
The Herald can reveal shocking new details about the botched murder attempt in the Inchicore area of the capital on Wednesday afternoon.
The target, who is originally from north Dublin, was given security advice by officers yesterday who also formally warned him of an active threat against his life.
Sources say detectives believe the target had been stalked for a number of days by a cartel murder squad before the dramatic bust which led to detectives firing five shots at an SUV in which a criminal fled.
Seconds earlier, a 27-year-old Cabra criminal was arrested in Kylemore Road after a loaded handgun with an attached silencer was dumped from the van he was travelling in with the gangster who got away.
It has emerged that the 27-year-old is well known to the man who he was on his way to kill.
He was still being questioned last night at Ballyfermot Garda Station while other gardai were drawing up a special security plan to keep his target safe.
One theory is that the 24-year-old became a cartel target after he was accused of "trying to seek revenge" for the murder of Kirwan (62) last December.
The criminal was close to Kirwan, who was murdered by the cartel because of his friendship with its number one target, Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch.
It can be now disclosed that the cartel had become aware that the young man had been spending a lot of time at a house in the Ballyfermot area with his young child. Gardai believe the hitmen were on their way to murder their target when they were intercepted by specialist officers.
Sources said a "terrible tragedy" may have been averted as the cartel target had been regularly playing with his child outside the house.
"Recent history shows just how ruthless and incompetent these gunman are," a source said last night.
"If they had got to the house and their target was outside playing with his kid, the child could easily have been hit."
Gardai believe that the target had been followed from his north Dublin home to Inchicore on a number of occasions.
The intended victim cannot be named for legal reasons as he is facing serious firearms-related charges after he was arrested by the Garda Special Detective Unit in north Dublin last November.
Less than two months later, 'Duck Egg' was shot dead and the 24-year-old was said to be "extremely distraught and angry".
"The cartel saw him as a threat and that is why they decided to target him," the source added.
The criminal was spotted with other mobsters at Kirwan's funeral and in the weeks after the murder gardai warned him of an active threat against his life.
He was forced to move out of his Cabra home and has been living at another location in Blanchardstown but he may now have to move because of the threat against him. A property linked to the man was attacked twice in the summer of 2016, when windows were smashed in attacks blamed on junior cartel members.
Heavily involved in the stolen car trade, Kirwan's close associate was arrested in July 2016 when armed gardai stormed a north inner city pub after a number of criminals linked to the Hutch gang barricaded themselves in. The criminal is considered "extremely volatile" and has serious drugs-related issues which have got worse since Kirwan's murder, according to sources.
Last Friday, Jason Keating (25), of Lower Main Street, Rush, was sent forward for trial to the Special Criminal Court for the murder of Kirwan who was sitting in a car outside his house in St Ronan's Drive, Clondalkin, when he was shot several times.
He was the 10th person to die in the Hutch-Kinahan feud which has now claimed 12 lives.
Mr Keating was remanded in custody and a trial date has yet to be fixed.
Meanwhile the 27-year-old suspect arrested on Wednesday was not previously known as a member of the cartel even though he is closely associated with a number of dangerous Cabra criminals, including some of its most prolific hitmen.
He is also a close associate of a 32-year-old criminal from Cabra who is on the run for serious firearm offences.
The suspect is well known to gardai and has over 50 previous convictions for road traffic offences, drugs, violent disorder and criminal damage.
A manhunt was continuing last night for the other man who had been with the thug when gardai stopped the white Citroen van they were travelling in allegedly on their way to murder their target.
Sources said last night that gardai had still not established the escaped man's identity but were examining CCTV in a bid to track him down.
When the Cabra criminal was arrested, the other man managed to get into a silver Hyundai SUV which then drove at gardai, forcing them to fire.
The "shot-up" vehicle was found in nearby Ballyfermot. It was recovered with two bullet holes in the windscreen and was being examined yesterday.
Gardai believe that the dramatic events of Wednesday show that the Kinahan cartel is an organisation in crisis.
"You need to look at who they are getting to carry out these hits for them now - individuals such as the man arrested this week who was previously known as a low-level, reckless criminal and now he is being tasked with carrying out assassinations for this cartel," a senior source said last night.
"And there can be also no doubt that their level of target is also now at a much lower level. The intended target might associate with Hutch gang members but he is not even part of that crew.
"It seems his big mistake was saying the wrong thing to the wrong people about the murder of Noel Kirwan.
"He is in serious jeopardy now and he would be best off leaving Dublin for a while."