Saturday 14 December 2019

Kinahan gang on way to set up hit on a Hutch associate as he watched game in southside pub

Hutch target spotted watching Ireland game in pub

Gangland feud: Armed gardai on duty. Photo: PA
Gangland feud: Armed gardai on duty. Photo: PA

Jim Cusack

Gardai dramatically intercepted an attempted gangland murder in Dublin during yesterday's European Championship match between Ireland and Belgium.

Heavily armed gardai carried out operations at two separate locations in south-west Dublin, during which they recovered a loaded semi-automatic pistol and arrested two men.

It is understood both men were close associates of David Byrne, the 32-year-old Kinahan gang member shot dead at the Regency Hotel in February. One of those arrested is a close relative of a man who was shot and injured as a result of the feud violence.

Yesterday's target is understood to be a senior member of the Hutch gang from Dublin's north inner city, who was believed to have been watching the match in a pub in south Dublin and was spotted by rivals.

It was emerging last night that the two men were tracked by gardai after word spread through Kinahan gang associates that a high-profile target from the rival Hutch gang was watching the Euro 2016 match and drinking in a pub in the south of the city.

Sources say a gun was collected in the western suburbs by one of two separate cars, one being driven by a figure described as a 'shooter' and the other intended to be used as a getaway vehicle after the assassination attempt.

Read more: 'Gardaí don't need new anti-gang laws, they need boots on ground'

Gardai say that the impromptu murder plot is typical of the day-to-day armed emergency situation officers in the city are becoming used to.

The Garda operation involved officers from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) supported by the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).

It is understood the intercept operation was a result of prolonged surveillance of the Dublin-based gang associated with the Kinahan cartel.

It is believed that at least one of the men arrested had been under surveillance when gardai became aware that he and another man were on their way to set up an assassination.

They were intercepted in separate cars, one containing what is understood to be a loaded Glock pistol.

Read more: Enda Kenny holds two hour meeting with community leaders in north Dublin over gangland violence

Yesterday's operation was being hailed by gardai as the latest in a series of blows against both gangs. Prior to yesterday afternoon's operation, gardai carried out several raids in Tallaght and south-west Dublin overnight on Friday. In another operation last week, gardai struck a serious blow to the Tallaght-based gang closely associated with the Kinahan cartel, seizing a vacuum pack containing €350,000 along with documentation and, it is understood, a number of firearms.

In a statement on yesterday's events, the Garda Press Office said: "One car was stopped on the Naas Dual Carriageway shortly before 3pm today, during [the] course of a search of the car, a firearm and ammunition was recovered. A male (30s) was arrested. Shortly afterwards a second car was stopped on the Long Mile Road, Dublin 12, and the male (30s) driver was arrested".

The intended attack comes a month after a similar attempt on the life Keith Murtagh, a Hutch gang member from Ballyfermot.

Sunday Independent

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