KILLER Karl Breen is being prepared for his imminent release from jail by being escorted from Limerick prison to an education course in Dublin.
The leader of the Infamous D22’ gang was sentenced to nine years for the manslaughter of his pal, Martin McLaughlin, on January 1, 2006, during a cocaine and booze-fuelled session at Jurys Croke Park Hotel.
Breen (34) was dubbed the Champagne killer’ because he had ordered a bottle of celebratory bubbly before stabbing McLaughlin in the arm, the back and the chest, puncturing his heart.
He was spotted last week at a centre run by a religious order in Dublin after being transferred from Limerick by taxi.
He was escorted in handcuffs by officers from Dublin.
Breen, a father of three, was said to have been looking relaxed during a cigarette break.
His Infamous D22’ tattoo was visible on his right arm, a reference to the Clondalkin gang he heads.
He was also able to meet members of his family during his two-hour visit to the capital.
Breen has been shifted from prison to prison following a series of feuds with other high-profile criminals, and is due for release in five months’ time.
Before being arrested and jailed, he ruled his Clondalkin-based drug gang with an iron fist.
The mob were believed to be behind four separate gangland murders.
Gardai now fear that Breen’s release will spark a wave of violence between rival criminals across the city.
Breen was moved to a high- protection wing of Limerick Prison for his own safety after falling-out with its most dangerous inmates, according to informed prison sources.
He was taken to Limerick after a similar row flared up with convicted killer Warren Dumbrell in the high-security Midlands Prison.
And before that, he and John Gilligan’s associate Brian Meehan became arch-enemies after Breen allegedly called Meehan a “rat”, sources say.
Breen and killer Derek Del Boy’ Hutch led a riot in the Midlands Prison in 2011 in which 50 inmates fought with wardens.
The outbreak of violence resulted in one inmate being injured before officers in riot gear brought the situation under control.
Sources said that even while in prison, Breen is believed by gardai to have organised gun and pipe-bomb attacks on his enemies.