Paul Williams: Conor McGregor's perilous situation should not be underestimated
Nobody should underestimate or play down the serious and perilous situation that Conor McGregor now finds himself in.
Through no fault of his own it appears he has inadvertently locked horns with members of the Kinahan cartel, which includes people who are well accustomed to killing – one of whom has notched up at least three murders in his malevolent career.
The public need to remember that these people are psychotic thugs for whom there are no boundaries or behavioral parameters: if you cross them they will either kill you, seriously injure you or simply leave you and your loved ones living in fear of your lives.
It is, in my experience, unprecedented that organised crime would be in a position to consider themselves so omnipotent that they can casually now target a worldwide sporting icon of Conor McGregor's calibre, simply as a result of a brawl in a pub.
This is what we describe narco-terrorism. Over the past almost 20 years we have seen the slide towards this much more pernicious criminal demeanor.
Over the past 72 hours sources in the criminal underworld and the gardai have been consumed by this developing and chilling saga.
Conor McGregor knows a lot of the bad guys who were involved in the notorious Crumlin-Drimnagh feud and also the extended Kinahan crime cartel – because he grew up in the same area.
He would have known them going to school and in the warped minds of these psychopaths that makes McGregor fair game because they see him as a member of their social milieu.
There is also more than a little begrudgery and jealousy at play here.
Jealousy due the fact that one of their peers opted not to be part of their criminal club, instead, when the rest of them were causing mayhem, he spent every spare moment focused on training and has emerged as one of Ireland’s greatest sporting success stories.
The current situation is very serious and while the gardaí have not been officially notified of an ongoing problem by any alleged or potential victims, garda intelligence sources are closely monitoring events.
Both McGregor and the gardai, and indeed the people who have had to endure living next to these thugs in Dublin 12, know that they have the capacity to carry out any threats they may make.
The Irish State cannot afford to allow these gangland monsters to attack Conor McGregor because of the immense reputational damage such an attack would cause to our supposedly sophisticated, developed European nation.