Latest gun victim believed to be 13th death in Kinahan-Hutch feud

Kane McCormack left vehicle in Aldi car park and got into other car shortly before he was shot

Gardaí suspect that a man found dead near Dunboyne in Co Meath on Saturday could be another victim of the Kinahan-Hutch gangland feud.

The murder of Kane McCormack, most likely on Friday evening, would be the first in the feud since May. His father Noel Kirwan (62) was shot dead as part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud outside his home in Clondalkin feud 12 months ago.

McCormack was shot in the head and his body was found on farm land by a woman out walking at Walterstown near the Meath-Kildare border.

The 24-year-old, who also went by his father’s surname Kirwan, was reported missing by his partner on Friday evening. Gardaí believe he told her he was going to meet somebody but there were no confirmed sightings of him after he left her.


Gardaí said on Sunday evening that McCormack parked his 2004 Peugeot car in the Aldi carpark in Clonee Village at 5pm on Friday and then got into a black saloon type car which left in the direction of Dunboyne. 
About an hour later gardaí in Finglas responded to a call that a black Audi saloon car was on fire just off the M50 at Meakstown Cottages. Detectives are trying to establish any link between the murder and the burned out car.

Supt James Cannon, of Ashbourne Garda station, appealed to anyone who may have noticed the vehicles or anything suspicious in Clonee village at or around 5pm on Friday to come forward. He asked the same of anyone who may have noticed a black saloon parked at Walterstown or who saw anything at Meakstown Cottages.

Life in danger

McCormack was well known to gardaí and had been officially warned by the force that his life was in danger.

At a recent court appearance his solicitor objected to his address being read out in court because of threats to his life. When his bail in relation in firearms offences was extended, a condition of his continued liberty was that he have a mobile phone with him at all times so gardaí could check his whereabouts.

At least one plan to kill McCormack in the past has been thwarted, gardaí believe. However, his recent relationships with other criminals are being examined and the possibility the killing was was not related to the feud has not completely been ruled out.

Kirwan 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. It appears Kinahan gang members in Dublin interpreted this as Kirwan choosing a side in the dispute.

Now that his son has been murdered, gardaí suspect the Kinahan gang was responsible for both killings.

Firearms charges

McCormack was on bail on serious firearms charges for over a year. In early November last year a car he was in was stopped in Finglas, Dublin, in which 50 rounds of .32 ammunition were found.

A resident of Beechfield Heights, Clonee, Co Meath, McCormack was charged with possession of the ammunition.

A major Garda operation has helped to quell the violence in the feud in recent months but if McCormack’s death is related, it would bring to 13 the number of victims in the feud in just over two years. Of those, 11 murders have been carried out by the Kinahan gang.

Operation Hybrid was established to carry out checkpoints and hi-visibility patrols aimed at reducing the ability of gang members to move around and meet each other for criminal purposes. Surveillance has also been stepped up and there has been a significant Garda presence in parts of Dublin where those regarded as targets in the feud reside.

The intensive operation has resulted in a series of major successful strikes against the Kinahan gang in Dublin in which multimillion drugs shipments and large quantities of cash have been found.

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to contact Ashbourne Garda station on (01) 8010600, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times