GANG boss Brian Rattigan has undergone extensive cosmetic surgery at the taxpayers' expense.
'King Ratt' had surgery for a scar carried out through the public health service -- at a cost of tens of thousands of euro to ordinary workers.
Jail sources say that notorious killer Rattigan -- who is serving a life sentence in Ireland's highest security jail --was entitled to the operation because the scar caused him "low self esteem".
He had consultations and the cosmetic procedure on his lip was performed by the public health service in April and May of last year, the Herald can reveal.
The vain criminal was escorted from Portlaoise Prison in Co Laois to a Dublin hospital by a prison officer and Army escort on several occasions for consultations and to have the procedure carried out.
The cost of the consultation, procedure and numerous joint Army-prison officer escorts between Portlaoise and the hospital is not known but is understood to have run into tens of thousands of euro
Brian Rattigan (30) is one of Ireland's most notorious criminals and he is serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder which started the bloody Crumlin/Drimnagh feud which has claimed up to 15 lives.
Drug dealer Declan Gavin who was the first fatality of the feud, was labelled a 'rat' before Rattigan stabbed him to death at an Abrakebabra fast-food outlet on the Crumlin Road on August 25, 2001. The Central Criminal Court heard that a Nissan Micra pulled up at the outlet shortly after 3am.
Mr Gavin approached the car, and someone inside it shouted: "You rat."
Rattigan, wearing a balaclava and carrying a large knife got out of the car and approached Gavin, pulled down his balaclava and asked: "Do you remember me?" before stabbing him in the chest.
The gang war, which is still simmering, stemmed from a row between former criminal associates over a drug seizure in a Dublin city centre hotel a year before Mr Gavin's death.
Two main factions emerged -- one led by Brian Rattigan and the other by his arch rival 'Fat' Freddie Thompson (30) who is on bail in Spain after being extradited there last week.
Rattigan has been locked up since 2003 after being convicted of heroin dealing and shooting at gardai.
Jail sources say that he has been "very peaceful" in recent months after years of building a reputation as one of Ireland's most troublesome prisoners.
One of his closest associates in jail is his cousin Timothy Rattigan (31) who is serving life for the murder of an innocent grandmother in a case of mistaken identity in Tallaght in April, 2004.
Brian Rattigan was dumped by his long term girlfriend Natasha McEnroe last year leading him to issue a death threat against her new boyfriend.
However the hitmen that he sought to murder this man have since been arrested and charged in relation to serious gang offences.