Irish man shot dead in suspected gangland murder in Spanish bar

Gerard Kavanagh singled out in bar on Costa del Sol by masked gunmen who fired multiple shots

Police in Spain are investigating the fatal shooting of an Irish man on the outskirts of Marbella on the Costa Del Sol in Spain yesterday.

Police in Spain are investigating the fatal shooting of an Irish man on the outskirts of Marbella on the Costa Del Sol in Spain yesterday.


An Irish man shot dead in Spain was a well-known criminal who closely associated with some of the biggest drug dealers in Ireland and who gardaí believe was the intended target of a botched murder bid last month.

Gerard Kavanagh, who was in his 40s and from Dublin, was singled out in a bar on the Costa del Sol yesterday afternoon by two masked gunmen who fired at least nine shots, most of which are believed to have hit the victim.

Kavanagh tried to run to safety when he saw the gunmen coming for him but collapsed on the premises when wounded.

He was unresponsive when the emergency services later arrived at the scene.

He was taken by ambulance to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

The murder occurred just before 5.30pm local time at an Irish bar in Elivira, on the outskirts of Marbella.

A BMW the gunmen are believed to have been driven to and from the scene in was later found burnt out by Spanish police.

The murder will once again refocus attention on southern Spain as being popular with Irish criminals trying to escape the attentions of the Garda, especially the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Kavanagh had been jailed in the mid 1990s for years after being caught with a quantity of heroin.

He was described at that time as being on a “hit list” of major drug dealers drawn up by a vigilante group with links to the Provisional IRA. Some on the list had been shot dead or wounded.

At the time, and despite being in his mid 20s, he was described by Garda witnesses during his trial as “the major figure in drugs supplies in the Crumlin, Drimnagh and Dolphins Barn areas of Dublin for some time” and “a prime mover” in the underworld.

Of late, the dead man had remained heavily involved in organised crime in Ireland and Spain and was closely linked to the Irish drugs gang based in Spain headed by convicted Dublin drug dealer Christy Kinahan.

A former boxer, Kavanagh is believed to have worked as a debt collector and enforcer for Kinahan. He had been threatened by dissident Republicans in Ireland and had been warned by gardaí his life was in danger before leaving the Republic for Spain.

With the Kinahan gang supplying large quantities of drugs to Irish gangs in recent years, the man shot today and another well known Dublin underworld figure had regularly travelled back to Ireland to collect debts from Irish gangs on Kinahan’s behalf.

While Kavanagh had successfully avoided attempts by the Real IRA in Dublin to extort money from him when it was led by Dubliner Alan Ryan, the new IRA alliance that has emerged since Ryan’s murder had put further demands on him.

He is also believed to have been a target of underworld figures in Spain arising from his criminal activities there.

Last month the former European boxing champion Jamie Moore was shot in the legs after leaving a house in Marbella, where he was based as a trainer for Irish fighter Matthew Macklin.

Gardaí and the Spanish police believed he was a completely innocent party shot in a case of mistaken identity. Kavanagh is believed to have been the intended target of that attack on Mr Moore.