Heavy Garda security planned for funeral of Michael Keogh

Hutch faction may take advantage of Kinahan gang members gathering in numbers

The car park on Dorset Street, Dublin where Michael Keogh was shot dead in his car Wednesday morning. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

The car park on Dorset Street, Dublin where Michael Keogh was shot dead in his car Wednesday morning. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

 

Garda are expected to mount a significant security operation around the funeral of criminal Michael Keogh who was shot dead as part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

The father of two was found dead in underground car park in the north inner city on Wednesday in a killing believed to have been carried out by by the Hutch faction.

While the feud has claimed 12 lives since the first murder in September 2015, ten of those killings were carried out by the Kinahan gang. Keogh’s murder was only the second time a Kinahan gang member has been killed, with Dublin-based David Byrne (35) also killed early last year.

A huge security operation was put in place for Byrne’s funeral, with the church that hosted it closed the day before and checked for explosives by the Garda Dog Unit.

Gardaí believe the same risk applies to Keogh’s funeral – that an attack may be carried out by the Hutch faction taking advantage of the fact that Kinahan gang members and allies gathering in one place in numbers.

International drugs cartel

Gardaí say associates of Gary Hutch, whose murder in Spain in September 2015 began the feud and his cousin Gareth Hutch, who was shot dead in May 2016, remain determined to hit back at the Kinahan gang

Many of the leading figures in the Kinahan gang attended the Byrne funeral 16 months ago, although the head of the international drugs cartel Christy Kinahan did not.

Garda sources say given how entrenched the feud has become since Byrne was killed, some of those who came from abroad for Byrne’s funeral would be too fearful of being attacked or being arrested to travel to Ireland.

And some of the other senior Kinahan gang figures who attended Byrne’s funeral have been charged with serious criminal offences and are in prison awaiting trial.

However, gardaí said that 37-year-old father of two Keogh was very closely linked to a number of men who are both Kinahan gang members and served prison sentences for paramilitary pipe bomb making in the past.

One of those men is a suspect in the feud murder of Gareth Hutch on May 24th last year on North Cumberland Street, Dublin 1.

He is now abroad, having spent time in the UK and Continental Europe for fear of being killed by the Hutch faction in Dublin or being arrested by the Garda. Detectives believe he may risk returning to Dublin to attend the funeral along with the other Kinahan gang members who were also close to Keogh.

If that faction within the Kinahan gang appeared at the funeral, it would create a security risk, especially at social gatherings after the funeral.

Murder trial

The funeral arrangements have yet to be confirmed but garda sources believed it would take place early next week.

The remains of murder victims take longer to be released by the coroner for burial because of the need for a lengthy and detailed postmortem, the results of which may be needed as evidence in a future murder trial.

The same sources said that when the funeral arrangements were confirmed a security assessment and policing operation would be carried out.

“Emotions will be high obviously and if you have people involved [in gangland] coming from abroad, it adds to the unpredictable nature of it,” said one senior officer.

Another said the Garda would need to plan for the possibility that mourners might be targeted by gunmen at social gatherings just before or after the funeral.

The Keogh funeral is expected to be lower key than that of David Byrne which saw a fleet of limousines used.