Saturday 17 August 2019

Kinahan crime family link to garda 'recruit' causes dispute between Harris and top security officers

  • Garda applicant reveals ties to Kinahan gang leader

  • Commissioner and security officers divided over risk

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is embroiled in a dispute with his top security officers over an application to join the force from an individual who has close family links to the leader of the Kinahan cartel.

Mr Harris is understood to be still considering the application by the prospective garda recruit who voluntarily disclosed family connections to the international crime organisation during the vetting process.

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However, senior intelligence officers in the Garda Crime and Security Branch have raised serious concerns about recruiting someone who has any family link to the crime gang headed by Daniel Kinahan.

Mr Harris has been warned that the individual's recruitment could pose significant risks to the force and leave him open to being compromised by the brutal cartel.

Gardai are satisfied that the applicant has no involvement with the organisation or with any criminality but fear he could be targeted by criminals seeking sensitive Garda information on them and on rival gang members.

The applicant is understood to have told gardai he has not been in contact with the family member who is linked to the billion euro Kinahan drugs empire for some years and insisted he has no intention of speaking to them in the future.

Local gardai who are handling the application are believed to be supportive of his candidacy and were impressed by his employment record.

"You don't get to decide who your extended family members are so it would be a bit harsh to refuse an application on that basis," a senior source said.

"He hasn't spoken to the family member in many, many years and said he has no intention of contacting them."

However, the source confirmed that there were "genuine concerns" among intelligence officers about hiring anyone with links to a dangerous individual like Daniel Kinahan.

The internal concern over the application follows years of bloodshed stemming from the gang war between members of the Kinahan cartel and the Hutch crime family.

To date, 18 people have been murdered during the feud which escalated after the infamous Regency Hotel gun attack in Dublin.

The vendetta was sparked by the murder of Gary Hutch, who was shot dead in September 2015 at an apartment block near Marbella. Hutch was the nephew of the criminal Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch.

The Kinahan crime empire was established by Christy Kinahan Senior who since taken a back seat to allow his son Daniel to control its illegal drug trade business. Daniel and his brother Christy Junior are based in Dubai.

Christy Senior was imprisoned for six years for drug dealing in the 1980s and he did a four-year stint in prison during the late 1990s after he was found in possession of £16,000 in stolen travellers' cheques. While imprisoned, he studied for two degrees and learnt to speak Spanish and Russian.

In 2010, Spanish police raided Christy Senior's home in Spain as part of a major international investigation into the gang but no charges were ever brought against him.

He is believed to have amassed huge wealth from drug trafficking and by providing a money-laundering service to other criminals.

The Kinahans' dangerous reputation and influence over international crime is the key concern among gardai who have warned against hiring a new recruit who has family connections to the gang.

Anyone can apply to join An Garda Siochana through an online portal on the Public Appointments Service website. They then have to take a supervised online test followed by a written examination.

All garda applicants are required to detail any connections to criminality when applying to join the force.

They are then vetted to determine if they are a suitable candidate to be sent to the Garda Training College in Templemore.

If a candidate fails to highlight any potentially compromising family connections, they are automatically disqualified from joining the Garda.

However, the applicant in this case voluntarily told senior gardai about his family connection to the Kinahan cartel and this is why his application is still being considered.

A Garda spokesperson said: "For privacy reasons, An Garda Siochana does not comment on individuals who apply to join An Garda Siochana."

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