Gardai have expressed surprise that a notorious criminal who is wanted here over the feud murder of Gareth Hutch is fighting his extradition from Turkey "tooth and nail".
Ballymun thug Thomas 'Nicky' McConnell (35) was arrested more than six weeks ago in the Turkish holiday resort of Kusadasi on foot of an arrest warrant and has since been housed in the tough Soke Prison.
The Herald can reveal that his deportation to Ireland was ordered by Turkish authorities earlier this month, but McConnell is appealing against it.
"Jails in Turkey have a reputation for being very uncomfortable places, particularly for foreign prisoners, so there was an expectation that he would be content to get out of there as soon as possible," a senior source said last night.
"But gardaí have been offic- ially informed he is appealing against his extradition back to Ireland and has a legal team who are fighting the deportation tooth and nail.
"It's surprising because conditions would be harsh there, much worse than he could expect in jail here."
McConnell is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant in relation to the murder of Gareth Hutch (36), who was shot dead in a car park outside Avondale House flats, North Cumberland Street, on May 24, 2016.
This warrant was activated by Interpol, which was involved with Turkish police in the arrest of McConnell, who is believed to have been living alone in a Kusadasi beach house.
Siblings Jonathan (35) and Regina Keogh (43) and their Thomas Fox (33) were convicted at the Special Criminal Court in 2018 of the murder of Mr Hutch, the nephew of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch.
Gardaí believe McConnell was also at the scene when the gun murder was carried out.
Jonathan Keogh and McConnell were criminal associates who became involved in the so-called New INLA, which backed the Kinahan cartel for cash in their bitter feud with the Hutch mob, which has claimed up to 18 lives.
Another New INLA pal of the pair is Eamonn Cumberton (31), who is serving a life sentence for the feud murder of Michael Barr (35) in the Sunset House pub in Dublin's north inner city on April 25, 2016.
McConnell was previously arrested and detained for nearly a week by officers from Mountjoy Garda Station, where he was questioned about the Gareth Hutch murder before being released without charge.
His phone was seized when he was in custody, and officers found it was in extensive contact with two numbers in Thailand, believed to be connected to Cumberton, who was based there at the time, as well as Regina Keogh's number, Fox's number and two numbers found in a car linked to Jonathan Keogh.
McConnell fled Ireland shortly after this and is understood to have been mainly based in the Ladies Beach area of Kusadasi before his arrest.
The murder of Gareth Hutch was caught on CCTV.
He was shot four times, twice in the back of the neck and once each in the lower back and upper chest.
At the Special Criminal Court trial, the prosecution contended that Jonathan Keogh threatened to kill Mr Hutch the evening before the shooting, that Thomas Fox and Regina Keogh were instrumental in planning the murder and Mr Keogh and another man, Mr AB, were the shooters.