The secretive 'Mr Big' of Irish crime has fled his north Dublin bolthole for Spain after coming under severe pressure from rival gangsters and gardai, the Herald can reveal.
'Mr Big', whose only convictions are for minor motoring offences, is being targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau and Organised Crime Unit. He left the country last week.
The clean-cut Coolock gangster has been involved in a bitter dispute with a feared Real IRA faction since he assaulted one of their associates in a north Dublin nightclub in January.
'Mr Big' -- who comes from a middle class background and is well educated -- controls a vast patch of drug territory stretching from Clontarf all the way up to Drogheda, Co Louth.
His stronghold is in the Coolock, Darndale and Donaghmede areas of the capital.
A source said: "He has been feeling the pressure.
"When it comes down to it he and his associates are very windy individuals.
"They don't like any heat on them at all and they are under a bit of pressure now.
"But he is sure to be back in Dublin sooner rather than later -- he has too many 'business' interests here to stay abroad for long."
The Herald has previously disclosed the structure of the secretive organisation headed by 'Mr Big' which comprises of him at the head of the mob with a veteran criminal, now based in Co Cavan, who introduced tiger kidnappings to Ireland, acting as his mentor.
He has five trusted lieutenants who look after the daily operations of the gang as well as four thugs who carry out gun and pipe bomb attacks for him.
Criminals who take an active part in violence include the notorious 'Taliban' brothers, who, after being linked to seven murders, are part of Mr Big's organisation.