James Quinn: A Kinahan killer in profile

A thug whose criminal career has been a menace and a threat to public safety – Garda

James Quinn who has been charged with the murder of Gary Hutch. Photograph: Solarpix.com

James Quinn who has been charged with the murder of Gary Hutch. Photograph: Solarpix.com


James Quinn, whose gun attack on Gary Hutch in 2015 set in chain a murderous underworld feud which has claimed 18 lives, is no stranger to international law enforcement and prison cells.

Having now been convicted of killing another notorious gangland figure, he faces perhaps several decades in jail and, when he is eventually freed, could also face threats from those who would want to avenge Gary Hutch.

Quinn (35), from Dublin’s south inner city, looked well groomed during his court appearances over the past week. But Garda sources described a thug whose criminal career has been a menace and a threat to public safety.

He was arrested in Spain in September, 2016, as he was trying to board a flight in Madrid. His arrest was part of a series of co-ordinated raids and search operations in both Dublin and southern Spain.

A yacht and Bentley car the police in Spain believe he was using were seized. In Dublin, gardaí seized €23,000 in cash, along with computers, phones, false identification papers and financial documents relating to property purchases and foreign bank accounts.

Following this arrest, Quinn was taken to the Alhaurin de la Torre prison, a maximum security jail where Christy Kinahan and his sons, Daniel and Christopher, were remanded in custody after their arrests in May 2010 following a major police investigation into drugs trafficking and money laundering.

Family connections

Quinn is a nephew of Martin Foley, the 66-year-old gangland figure also known as ‘The Viper’ who was a member of the gang headed by Martin ‘The General’ Cahill.

A former boxer, and by all accounts one with a lot of natural talent, Quinn had been splitting his time between Dublin and Spain in the decade before his arrest; living for most of that period near Marbella.

He had been warned by gardaí in Dublin that his life was in danger even before the Kinahan-Hutch feud simmered in the 12-18 months prior to the murder of Gary Hutch. He worked as an enforcer for drug dealers and developed strong links to the Kinahan gang.

When former Kinahan enforcer Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh, a 44-year-old Dubliner, was shot dead as part of an internal dispute within the Kinahan gang in a bar near Marbella in September 2014, Quinn was a suspect.

The victim’s brother, Paul Kavanagh, was shot dead in Drumcondra, north Dublin, six months later.


Quinn has served time in prison in Ireland and has more than 70 convictions. While most are for road traffic offences, he has also been involved in a number of violent crimes.

In June 2008, when a Dublin drug addict was beaten and shot in the leg at his home, Quinn was a chief suspect. Although he was questioned, he was never charged.

In April 2008, he assaulted a garda on South Great Georges Street. Garda reinforcements were called and Quinn was subdued.

In July 2013, he was given a two-year jail sentence, with one year suspended, at Dublin Circuit Court for threatening a bouncer who had ejected him from a city centre pub. The sentencing hearing was told when Quinn was ejected from a city centre pub in May 2008, he told the bouncer: “I’m not threatening you, but you’re going to be very sorry for putting me out of the pub.”

He returned later and followed the bouncer as he drove home. When he stopped his car at traffic lights at the Red Cow, Quinn appeared with a hammer and smashed the windscreen of the other car. “I told you you’d be sorry, you bastard,” he told the security guard.

Gary Hutch (35) was cut from the same cloth; a criminal who tried, and failed, to forge a criminal career in the sun. A one-time member of the Kinahan gang, he fell foul of the cartel when he was accused of supplying information to the authorities about drug shipments. When he tried to murder a senior gang member, but failed, he fled Spain.

He returned to southern Spain in the summer of 2015 believing his extended family in Dublin had reached an agreement with the Kinahan gang and paid them €200,000 to spare his life. However, the agreement was reneged on and Hutch was shot dead on September 24th in a communal area of the Angel de Miraflores apartments complex, near Marbella on the Costa del Sol.