| 7.7°C Dublin

'The Monk' spends Christmas in a Northern Ireland safe house as pals are targeted

Close

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan was the latest victim of the feud, which in February also claimed the life of David Byrne

Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan was the latest victim of the feud, which in February also claimed the life of David Byrne

/

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

On-the-run crime boss Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch spent the Christmas period hiding out in a safe house in Northern Ireland, the Herald can reveal.

The 53-year-old, who is the number one target for the Kinahan cartel in the bloody feud which has now claimed 11 lives, is believed to be still in the property north of the border.

Gardai have received information that a number of Hutch's closest associates travelled to the secret hideaway to meet him over the past week.

It is understood he is being put up by associates of dissident republicans in the North.

It is not known if he will att-end the funeral of his pal Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan (62), which is expected to take place in the capital next week.

Arrested

If he does attend, he runs the risk of being arrested by gardai who want to question him about February's Regency Hotel gun attack in which cartel figure David Byrne (33) was murdered.

Since then, the cartel has shot dead eight men, including two innocent victims, in an unprecedented killing spree against Hutch's associates.

The latest of these killings was that of Noel Kirwan, who was shot at his Ronanstown home on Thursday night of last week, a slaying that was caught on CCTV.

After the shooting of Kirwan and a botched murder attempt on a so-called gangland banker weeks earlier, gardai are working on the theory that the cartel is attempting to "take out individuals who have knowledge of the finances of the Hutch gang".

"The idea is that if the Hutch gang can't get at the massive amounts of cash they have stashed around the place, they will not be in a position to pay to carry out another spectacular attack like the Regency Hotel," a senior source said.

"The information that is coming in is that the Hutch faction is starved of cash, which means they can't pay hitmen and spotters in the same way that the cartel can."

However, gardai are still on high alert that the gang will attempt to fight back, possibly even over the New Year period.

"The situation remains extremely tense and last week's murder shows just how dangerous things are in this ongoing feud," the source said.

The Monk's Christmas 'break' in Northern Ireland is the first time he has surfaced since being spotted in Istanbul in October.

The last time publicity-shy Hutch was photographed was when he showed up in disguise at his murdered older brother Eddie's funeral last February.

He was driven there by Kirwan, who was warned shortly afterwards by gardai that his life was under threat.

The murder of Hutch's nephew Gary started the feud on September 24 last year.

After that killing, it emerged that The Monk had organised the payment of €200,000 to the cartel to spare his life and allow him to 'retire' from the gang.

However, it was reported that the cartel then reneged on this deal and demanded a further €200,000 from Gary Hutch's family.

The cartel's determination to wipe out associates of The Monk has seen dozens of his extended family members warned about threats against their lives simply because they are related to him.

Many of these are innocent women, including a close relative who was forced to cancel her wedding plans because of fears that the ceremony would be targeted by the cartel.

However, she did then get married later in the year.

The murder of Noel Kirwan has led to increased fears about the safety of long-time friends of Hutch.

Sources say that three men in particular remain under grave threat. They are all middle-aged men who have known Hutch since they were children.

Two of the men were previously suspected of involvement in some of Hutch's most famous alleged crimes, including a Brinks Allied heist in Clonshaugh, Dublin, in 1995, in which IR£3m was stolen.

However, neither was ever charged in relation to this heist, nor was The Monk.

Launderer

One of the men, who is aged in his mid-50s, is suspected of being a driver in the massive cash robbery, while a man who is now in his mid-40s is suspected of being a money launderer for Hutch and helping him invest in properties and pubs.

These two men now live in different locations in north Co Dublin and their presence has led to constant armed garda patrols in these locations.

Both men have interests in a large number of legitimate businesses in north Dublin. They also have previous criminal convictions, but not for serious offences in recent years

Another cartel target, aged in his 50s, lives in the north inner city and has connections with the Hutch family going back a number of years, but is said not to be a key player at the moment.


Privacy