Kinahan-Hutch: This is not a feud – it is a wipeout

Analysis: wealth of Kinahan off-shore leadership poses unique challenge for Garda

Some of those involved in the Kinahan-Hutch feud have been removed from the streets by the Garda. Photograph: The Irish Times

Some of those involved in the Kinahan-Hutch feud have been removed from the streets by the Garda. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

As the body count continues to mount in the Kinahan-Hutch so-called feud, there seems no end in sight.

Every murder, and there have been 14, sows more hatred from which further killings will come.

The Crumlin-Drimnagh and Limerick gangland feuds offer the only comparison, such was the murder tally by the time those guns were silenced.

Each of those feuds ran for a decade. Approximately 15 people were killed in each dispute; the figures vary as it is disputed whether some murders in those areas at the time were really feud-related.

When the violence ended it did so for two clear reasons: most of the leading figures were either shot dead, or jailed.

Some of those involved in the Kinahan-Hutch feud have been removed from the streets by the Garda. In prison they await trial for serious feud-related crimes, up to and including murder.

But one worrying feature of the Kinahan-Hutch conflict is the global edge to it and the conspicuous wealth of the Kinahan gang.

This is not a feud in any sense of the word. It is a wipeout of north Dublin criminals and their associates by the most powerful and wealthiest gang Irish organised crime has produced.

Derek Coakley-Hutch (27), shot dead near Cloverhill Prison in west Dublin on Saturday, was the fourth member of his family gunned down by the Kinahan gang in less than 2½ years.

But to date none of the Kinahan family has been murdered.

Assassins

Of the 14 murders to date, all but two have been carried out by Kinahan assassins.

The violence in Limerick was defined by the McCarthy-Dundon gang taking on the Keane-Collopy faction.

In the beginning control for the drugs trade in Limerick was a motivation. But that was soon forgotten when hatred displaced nefarious commercial considerations.

The Crumlin-Drimnagh feud was marked by a group of drug-dealing teenagers falling out in 2000 over the seizure by gardaí of a cocaine consignment.

For a decade they plotted and schemed, gunning each other down when the opportunity presented.

However, in Crumlin, Drimnagh and Limerick, all of the key players lived in the State. And while leading drug dealers in their own localities, their financial positions were relatively modest.

When the Garda deployed a properly resourced investigation, their criminal enterprises collapsed.

In contrast, the leadership of the Kinahan gang is based offshore; for many years in southern Spain and more recently in the Middle East.

It is the key wholesaler in the supply of narcotics into the Irish market. But it also conducts significant drug deals in continental Europe and further afield.

More powerful

It has an outfit in Dublin, running its drug-dealing and debt collection, that is more powerful than any of the feuding gangs in Crumlin, Drimnagh or Limerick.

They are backed by the international leadership of the Kinahan empire. And they have vast funds to pay the gunmen willing to kill the Hutch family and their associates for a fee.

The same money also pays for the intelligence, such as the precise detail on Coakley-Hutch’s movements on Saturday, that makes the killings possible, and the weapons, bullets, getaway cars and drivers needed for gun murders.

Kinahan cash is effectively bankrolling its Dublin unit to wipe out the Hutch family. And it is difficult to see an end to the violence unless the Kinahans and their Dublin-based crew are put out of business.

That day seems inevitable. Less clear is whether the end for them will come in a prison cell or down the barrel of rival’s gun.

But as Crumlin-Drimnagh and Limerick demonstrate, the end may come only after a decade-long cycle of violence.