Sunday 17 December 2017

'We will bring killers to justice' - Top garda confident of successful outcome in Michael Keogh murder

Michael Keogh and inset Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll
Michael Keogh and inset Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll
Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll Photo: Damien Eagers
Victim Michael Keogh and the car (featuring false plates) that was discovered burnt out
Michael Keogh. Picture: Facebook Newsdesk Newsdesk

A senior garda leading the fight on the Hutch and Kinahan gangs says he is satisfied they will catch those behind the latest gangland murder.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll revealed that gardaí have foiled in excess 20 murders since the feud began and said it was "regrettable on this occasion that we didn't get there first".

Small-time criminal Michael Keogh (37) was gunned down on his way to work in Dublin's North Inner City early on Tuesday morning. A car, used in the hit, was found on fire on Clonliffe Avenue at 7.30am.

But it was shortly before 10am when Mr Keogh's lifeless body was discovered in the underground car park of the Sheridan Court flat complex on Dublin's Dorset Street where he lived by a Dublin council worker

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Speaking on RTE Radio 1 this afternoon, A-Comm O'Driscoll said they are confident of successful outcome in this murder.

"There has been continuous intervention where there have been attempts to murder it is just regrettable on this occasion that we didn't get there first.

"While it is regrettable that we have had this, the first gangland murder in Dublin this year, the investigation team based in Mountjoy and those assisting from around the Dublin Metropolitan region have built up a level of experience."

He said: "Based on what I am aware of, I am satisfied that we will have a successful outcome in terms of identifying the culprits and bringing them to justice in this case."

A-Comm O'Driscoll said the efforts to tackle organised crime and this particular feud have been "relentless".

He said gardaí have intervened continuously since the murder of David Byrne in the Regency Hotel in February 2016.

"It is not a case where business had stopped in terms of their targeting victims. It has been ongoing and on other occasions we have intervened.

"At times firearms that we have seized have been loaded for attempted assassinations. We have seized sub machine guns, assault rifles and arrested people who were about to commit a murder."

Asked how many murders have been prevented by gardaí, A-Comm O'Driscoll said: "I would be absolutely certain that it is in excess of 20." He declined to say how many people are currently under threat as part of the feud.

"On a regular basis we are interacting with people that we have identified as potential targets. In a formal way, we provide them with written notification of the fact that they are potential victims. There is also an onus on those people to behave in a way which will also assist in preventing those who are targeting them from achieving their aims."

Asked if he needed resources more resources to tackle the feud A-Comm O'Driscoll said Templemore is full and they have moved on from the years of austerity.

"We are in a very positive situation in relation to resources and it is because of that positive situation that we have been able to intervene on the occasions we have intervened on and where we have seized weapons."

Father-of-two Keogh had just started a new job in construction. While not considered a major criminal, he was linked to the so-called New INLA faction which has aligned itself with the Kinahan cartel.

Keogh was the brother of notorious INLA bomb-maker Jonathan Keogh (32), who has been on the run for over a year.

It is thought Michael Keogh may have visited him abroad a number of weeks ago.

Gardaí have not ruled out the possibility Michael Keogh was involved in one or more of five attacks against cars of Hutch family members last week.

These attacks led to a huge increase in tensions in the deadly feud which has now claimed 12 lives. There are now fears of revenge attacks by the Kinahan cartel following his murder yesterday.

The murder is being treated as the first carried out by the Hutch gang since the Regency Hotel bloodbath in February 2016, which escalated the feud.

"The feeling is that the cartel will strike back in a very severe way for this and more murders are expected even within the next few days," a senior source said. "The situation is extremely volatile."

Fears of further violence have been heightened by the release of Hutch associate James 'Mago' Gately (30) from hospital.

He spent over a fortnight in hospital after he was the victim of a drive-by shooting at the Topaz petrol station on the N32, in Ballymun, on Wednesday, May 10.

Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

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