Jonathan Dowdall may have ‘treasure trove’ of information about Hutch gang, gardaí believe

Gardaí say ex-SF councillor has information that could be used against range of suspects allegedly involved in Dublin gang crime

Evidence from State’s witness Jonathan Dowdall may be used against other suspects linked to the Hutch crime group rather than being limited to those before the courts over the 2016 murder of David Byrne at Dublin’s Regency Hotel, senior Garda sources have said.

The same gardaí said Dowdall was potentially the highest-value person to enter the witness protection programme since it was founded in the aftermath of Veronica Guerin’s murder in 1996. They believe he has information that could be used against a range of suspects allegedly involved in Dublin gang crime, in some cases for decades.

Dowdall (44), a former Sinn Féin councillor, has agreed to give evidence against three men accused of murdering Byrne (34) in February, 2016, namely Gerry Hutch (58), Paul Murphy (59) and Jason Bonney (50).

However, his links to the Hutch gang are so deep and long-standing that gardaí believe he could provide a “treasure trove” of information about the workings of the group.

Some gardaí believe Dowdall agreeing to give evidence for the State could lead to other people also being charged with Byrne’s murder and could incriminate those suspected of other crimes linked to the Hutch gang and the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Dowdall, with an address on the Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, and his father Patrick Dowdall (65), had also been charged with the murder of Byrne, which was the first attack in the Republic linked to the feud. However, the men were last week taken before the courts to plead guilty to charges of facilitating the murder by making a room at the hotel available for a criminal organisation or its members on February 4th, 2016.

It has since emerged that Dowdall has been in the process since late last year of preparing to give evidence for the State. This looks set to include him taking to the witness box in the Special Criminal Court when the trial of the three men charged with Byrne’s murder begins.

Dowdall has known some of the Hutch gang members since he was a teenager and grew up with them in the north inner city of Dublin. He has also had financial dealings with them, including accepting loans from them to help fund his electrical contracting business. He has also made purchases for them, including paying for holidays, which helped them hide some of their spending.

Gardaí believe Dowdall became compromised when he accepted money, on loan, from Hutch crime gang members. However, while he was never a member of their gang, he was a trusted confidant and was effectively in the gang’s inner circle. He travelled abroad with them and supported them during difficult periods, including when some members of the Hutch family and their associates were murdered.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times