Tuesday 12 December 2017

Victim shot over Regency Hotel attack link as New IRA drawn into feud

The remains of Michael 'Mickey' Barr (right) are removed from the murder scene, inset Michael Barr
The remains of Michael 'Mickey' Barr (right) are removed from the murder scene, inset Michael Barr
Police attend the scene of a shooting at the Sunset House pub in Summerhill, Dublin. It’s understood senior gardaí are now 'extremely concerned' that the latest killing will lead to an escalation in violence. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Ken Foy and Paul Williams

Dissident republican Michael Barr (34) was targeted by the Kinahan cartel as they believed he sourced the AK-47s for the Regency Hotel attack from Donegal.

The murder of Michael Barr on Monday night has sparked concern the so-called New IRA will now become embroiled in the Kinahan/Hutch feud.

Barr (35), who was originally from Tyrone but living in Dublin's north inner city, became the sixth victim of the feud after he was shot dead in the Sunset House pub in Summerhill, in Dublin's north inner city.

The latest murder signals that the ongoing feud between members of the Kinahan drugs cartel and associates of murdered Gary Hutch, a nephew of crime boss Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, shows no sign of abating.

However, it's understood senior gardaí are now "extremely concerned" that the latest killing will lead to escalation.

"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.

"If the dissidents become an active third element in this feud, the body count could be in the dozens within months."

Barr became a target for the Kinahan cartel - headed up by Christy Kinahan Snr and his son Daniel (37) - due to his close association with one of the six-man assassination team who stormed the Regency Hotel on February 5 and murdered David Byrne (34), a close friend and associate of Daniel Kinahan.

Barr's associate - nicknamed 'Flat Cap' - is also a dissident and was pictured fleeing the hotel shortly after the murders along with a man who was dressed as a woman.

In the days before the attack, it is believed Barr travelled to Donegal with another well-known criminal to collect the AK-47s used by assassins dressed as fake gardai in the Regency attack.

The pair then met with 'Flat Cap' in the days before the hotel shooting, which was planned as revenge for the murder of Gary Hutch in Marbella in Spain last September.

In the weeks after this, taxi driver Eddie Hutch (58), a brother of Gerry Hutch; Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan; and innocent father-of-two Martin O'Rourke have been murdered by associates of the Kinahan gang.

The murders of Michael Barr, Martin O'Rourke and Eddie Hutch occurred in the same locality of Dublin's north inner city and has sparked fear among the community.

On Monday night, two men, described as slim and wearing masks, burst into The Sunset House while a driver waited outside. They shot Barr 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 nearby Drumcondra.

It is understood that the killers had a "spotter" in the pub who was in contact with the assassination team.

It has since emerged that Ross Hutch (24), another nephew of Gerry Hutch who is considered a target for the Kinahan gang, fled from the pub as the gunmen opened fire.

The suspects for the shooting are believed to be the same gang who shot taxi driver Eddie Hutch dead at his home in Poplar Row in Ballybough, also in Dublin's north inner city.

The killers, who are based in Cabra, 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.

The so-called New IRA faction, which Michael Barr was linked to prior to his death, is currently seen as the biggest threat among the many different dissident republican factions currently in operation.

The group is an amalgamation of the Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs and other Republicans who came together to form one group in 2012.

Barr 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.

Motorbike

Separately, gardaí are now satisfied that the murder of Thomas Farnan (37) in west Dublin on the same night is not linked to the feud.

Mr Farnan was shot dead in the hallway of his home in Kilcronan Close, Clondalkin, at about 11.45pm on Monday night.

Gardai are investigating if the murder is linked to a local row that he was involved in over a stolen motorbike.

It is not believed that the dad-of-one had stolen the motorbike but it is believed that the row involved a "scuffle" between him and a number of other men.

He had a number of previous convictions, but was not involved in organised crime.

Gardaí said the gunman was described as being short, wore runners and a tracksuit and may have had a balaclava on as he carried out the shooting.

Officers believe the lone gunman knocked on Farnan's door on Kilcronan Close before shooting him up to four times in the torso with a handgun.

The suspect ran from the house along Kilcronan Close on to the Grand Canal and then onto a green area towards Lock View Road.

Irish Independent

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