Kinahan gang threat rears its head despite Garda successes

Killing of Kane McCormack after lull is part of Kinahan ‘wipeout’ of Hutch side

Gardaí preserve the scene at Waterstown, Co Meath, where Kane McCormack’s body was found. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Gardaí preserve the scene at Waterstown, Co Meath, where Kane McCormack’s body was found. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

 

As brutal as the shooting of Kane McCormack was last Friday evening, the violence that took his life was at odds with the recent pattern of the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

An Garda Síochána has had so many successes against the Kinahan gang in the second half of this year that the killing stopped for a long period.

Indeed, before the events of last Friday, the last killing related to the feud occurred in May.

Details of the individual operations are difficult for the media to outline precisely because so many people are charged with feud-related and drugs-related crimes that gardaí have unearthed.

But the death of McCormack – whose father, Noel Kirwan (62), was shot dead last December by the Kinahan gang – serves as a reminder that the threat the Kinahan cartel poses at home and abroad remains despite the Garda successes.

The 24-year-old drove from his home in Clonee to a supermarket car park in the Meath village at 5pm on Friday. He left his car there and drove off with other men.

Kane McCormack, in black, attending the funeral of his father, Noel “Duck Egg” Kirwan. Photograph: Padraig O’Reilly
Kane McCormack, in black, attending the funeral of his father, Noel “Duck Egg” Kirwan. Photograph: Padraig O’Reilly

Gardaí believe he was taken the short distance to a field off the road through Walterstown between Leixlip and Dunboyne and fatally shot in the back of the head.

His killers fled and gardaí suspect a black Audi found burned-out in Finglas at 6pm was the one use by the killers.

McCormack’s body was discovered in the field by a woman out walking on Saturday.

Friend of both sides

Noel Kirwan, a former active republican, vigilante and extortionist, was shot dead outside the house where he lived in Clondalkin, west Dublin, last December. He was regarded by gardaí as a friend of the Hutch family and also the people who make up the Kinahan gang.

He was photographed with Gerry “The Monk” Hutch at the funeral of his brother Eddie Hutch, who was shot dead in February 2016. It appears Kinahan gang members in Dublin interpreted this as Kirwan choosing a side in the dispute.

Father and son were shot over those perceptions that formed in the minds of the key Kinahan figures who sanction and pay for people to be killed.

Kirwan was perceived as having sided with the Hutch family and so was dispatched in a hail of bullets. His son was perceived as posing a risk to the Kinahan gang and was shot in the head.

Of the 13 killings now carried out as part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud, 11 have been carried out by the Kinahan gang.

Garda sources say the dispute is a “wipeout” of the Hutch side rather than a feud in the conventional sense of the word.

Of the 13 killings linked to the feud to date, two occurred in late 2015, there were nine in 2016 and there have been two so far in 2017.

In the first 10 months of the year there were 71 feud-related arrests and 14 charges brought. More than 30 firearms have been seized and 44,500 high visibility checkpoints – many of them armed – have been carried out.

The value of drugs seized has reached €79.5 million, the vast majority from the Kinahan gang.