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Drugs cartel boss Christy Kinahan turns Robin Hood by funding inner city sports clubs

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Christy Kinahan

Christy Kinahan

Christy Kinahan

Irish drugs cartel boss Christy Kinahan has turned Robin Hood by quietly funding inner city sports clubs and youth projects.

And his example is being followed by other drugs bosses around Dublin who are funding sports clubs, buying equipment and kits.

It is known locally how the clubs are being funded, but in most cases there is "no alternative" way of funding sports projects for young people, according to local community activists.

The manager of one inner city sports club in Dublin told the Sunday Independent he was disgusted that "not one penny" of assets seized from criminals by the State has been diverted to youth projects in deprived areas.

When the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was set up, political leaders promised that funds seized by gardai would go to sporting and other projects in areas afflicted by drugs to divert young people away from crime.

However, the amateur sports club boss, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, told the Sunday Independent: "The Government haven't bought so much as a ping-pong ball for any of the clubs I know. I don't think there's a club in Dublin that got a penny. The politicians were all talk when they set up CAB, that the money would go to inner-city kids to keep them away from crime and drugs. No surprises, that was all shite.

"Everyone around here knows Christy [Kinahan] has put up money for [named club]. They've the best of gear. And I could run off a dozen clubs who have got money the same way.

"The Government say they are going to divert drug money into the communities and not a penny comes down, not a fucking penny."

The manager insisted his club would never consider approaching any criminals for funding - and said many others in areas where drugs and crime have nearly destroyed communities are of the same mind.

He said acquiring and running premises for sports and other activities is also fraught with planning and other health and safety statutory requirements.

The situation in inner-city Dublin, where local activists are trying to run a youth sports project in a drugs- afflicted inner city area, mirrors storylines played out in the US crime series The Wire.

The Dublin sports manager told of one soccer club he knows which was generously funded by a man widely known to be one of Kinahan's gang - but who was assassinated by rival drug gangs in recent years.

He added: "They had the best of stuff too. It wasn't any secret. Those kids knew exactly where the money was from. That's setting a very bad example. The Government is letting this happen. It's not like the guards don't know.

"Some people say 'fair play' when they hear where the money's from, but a lot of people round here have lost family to drugs and crime and won't have a thing to do with blood money."

He said most sports clubs in poor city areas are constantly cash-strapped and get by on local donations and voluntary work by adults and the young people themselves.

He said that while the GAA generally ran well-funded youth sports clubs, other sports, from soccer to boxing and athletics, have all experienced funding difficulties.

The Sunday Independent asked the Department of Justice if it could provide any details about sporting, youth or other projects in areas affected by drugs and crime that have received funding from money seized by CAB. There was no reply.

Last year, former Justice Minister Alan Shatter told the Dail CAB had seized around €300m since it was established in 1996.

In 2012, it seized €4.8m in money deemed to be from criminal activity. Most of CAB's seizures now take the form of tax settlements. No details are released about how these funds are disbursed.

A senior garda source said: "All we know is that the money goes to the Exchequer."

He knew nothing about CAB money being diverted to youth projects or for drug treatment.

Sunday Independent