'New IRA' to target cartel in revenge for pub murder
The 'New IRA' are preparing to target the Kinahan cartel to avenge the latest killing in the bitter gangland feud in Dublin.
Senior sources revealed last night that top-level officers were "extremely concerned" that the murder of dissident republican Michael 'Mickey' Barr (34) on Monday night would lead to a further escalation of the brutal gangland war between the cartel and the Hutch gang.
There are growing fears that dissidents in the North - which have access to a large arsenal of explosives and ammunition - will become a powerful third element in the bloody feud that has claimed six lives.
"Barr was a senior member of the 'New IRA' grouping. The legitimate fear is that his associates in the North and the Republic will now feel they have to avenge his murder by striking back at the Kinahan cartel," a senior source said.
"This escalation is something that no-one is prepared for, something that is terrifying to think about when one considers the arsenal of weapons that the dissidents have.
"If the dissidents become an active third element in this bloody feud, the body count could be in the dozens within months," the source added.
Gardai believe that Co Tyrone man Michael Barr - who was shot dead in the Sunset House in Summerhill in Dublin's north inner city at 9.30pm on Monday - became a target because of his close association with the Regency Hotel gunman nicknamed 'Flat Cap'. They are both from the same county.
Detectives also believe that the Kinahan cartel had received information that Barr had also been involved in sourcing the AK-47s used in the Regency attack from his IRA faction in the North.
Two men, described as skinny and wearing masks, burst into the Sunset House while a driver waited outside.
Barr was shot a number of times in the head and body. The two men fled in an Audi A6 - registration number 04-C-17738 - which was found burned out in Drumcondra.
It is understood that the killers had a "spotter" in the pub who was in contact with the assassination team.
Last night, it emerged gardai were investigating whether the mob suspected of murdering Eddie Hutch Snr in February, were involved in this week's shocking slaying.
The Cabra-based criminals are also the chief suspects in the shocking 2006 Baiba Saulite murder case and are being investigated for last month's feud-related murder of Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan in Ashbourne, Co Meath.
"They are extremely loyal to the cartel and are frankly a ruthless crowd of evil b******s," a source said last night.
Yesterday, the Herald revealed that key cartel target Ross Hutch (24) fled from the pub when Michael Barr was murdered. This paper has learned that the latest murder in the bitter feud has led to a state of crisis among senior gardai.
"What is the solution to this going to be? Where will we go from here if the IRA decide to become active participants after this murder? It is a very grim prospect," a senior source said.
"There is a lack of surveillance, a lack of intelligence, a lack of proper technology and the whole Covert Human Intelligence Sources system, which governs how gardai deal with criminal informants, is a complete failure."
"Everyone is on tenterhooks that this thing has gone out of all control and even a mass murder cannot be ruled out now," the source added.
The IRA faction, to which Barr was linked, is considered the biggest threat among the many different active dissident republican factions.
The group is an amalgamation of the Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs and other republicans which came together to form one group in 2012.
Sources say that their power base had continued to "slowly grow" since that time.
Barr had been living in Finglas and Ballymun and had been a major target for the garda Special Detective Unit for the past four years.
He was due to be sentenced tomorrow at the Special Criminal Court for handling stolen property. Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to handling stolen electrical equipment.
In June of last year, Barr and six other men were cleared of IRA membership charges at the Special Criminal Court.
It is understood that the murdered man leaves behind a devastated north Dublin-based partner and a number of young children.