Thursday 22 August 2019

Tom Brady: Hopes for truce shattered as one-sided gang war claims its 11th victim

Forensic officers at the scene of the killing in Ronanstown, west Dublin
Forensic officers at the scene of the killing in Ronanstown, west Dublin
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

It now seems as if anybody who said hello to a member of the Hutch family in the past few years is in danger of being killed.

The savage one-sided nature of the feud that has claimed 11 lives over the past 15 months was again highlighted yesterday.

Noel Kirwan (62), from Summerhill in Dublin's north inner city, was a close associate of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch when they lived in the same community.

Mr Kirwan played an active role in the anti-drugs campaigns in the area in the 1990s and for his efforts earned a mention in Sinn Féin's 'An Phoblacht'.

He was also charged with having a firearm or imitation firearm for the purpose of intimidation at Ballybough Road in 1996.

Ten of the 11 victims of the feud have been murdered by the Kinahan faction.

The feud erupted after the fatal shooting of Gary Hutch, a nephew of Gerry Hutch, on the Costa del Sol in Spain in September last year.

This followed a falling out between Gary Hutch and the Kinahan gang over money.

Several efforts were made to sort out their differences and at one stage Gerry Hutch believed the problems had been sorted as a result of a payment.

The murder of David Byrne at the Regency hotel last February during a weigh-in was regarded as retaliation for the Costa shooting.

Since then, the Kinahan crime cartel has embarked on a murder spree.

Its victims include two innocent men, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Eddie Hutch Sr, Gerry's brother, who was regarded as a "soft target" with no involvement in criminal activity.

At one stage, the north inner city looked in danger of being turned into Dublin's "killing fields".

But gardaí finally took control of the streets again with saturation policing and a focused campaign of disruption and interception by the Garda drugs and organised crime unit, backed up later by the special crime task force in the capital.

Since the shooting of Gareth Hutch on May 24 last, it appeared the gardaí had put an end to the spiral of bloody killings in the city as the tactics paid dividends through the seizures of guns, ammunition and cash.

At least half of the 18 firearms seized by the bureau are believed by gardaí to have been linked to the feud.

Gardaí point out that the feud is not a straightforward geographical crime fight with northside (Hutch gang) versus southside (Kinahans).

One gang, who had been close to the Hutch group and lived in the same community, decided to realign themselves with the Kinahan faction and provided information to their new allies.

The criminal assets bureau is also active in the investigation as a result of its involvement in Operation Lamp, which is targeting members of the Kinahan gang and associates.

Files are currently being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to several key figures suspected of being involved in the feud.

The CAB is examining the assets of members of the Hutch gang and is working closely with the Spanish police.

But while there had been no complacency, there were hopes among the gardaí that peace might reign in gangland over the Christmas period and open up the prospect of bringing some sort of truce, however temporary, in the new year.

Last night's murder, however, has shattered the slim hopes of that happening.

Irish Independent

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