Ten months on, Hutch-Kinahan feud shows no sign of abating

‘Monk’ associate the latest victim of bloody conflict sparked by Regency Hotel attack

Noel Kirwan’s killing has come less than a fortnight after a new command structure for armed Garda units was fast-tracked in response to the deepening feud. Photograph: Frank Miller

Noel Kirwan’s killing has come less than a fortnight after a new command structure for armed Garda units was fast-tracked in response to the deepening feud. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

It is almost a year since a gang of men dressed in mock Garda uniforms opened fire with an AK47 assault rifle at a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road in north Dublin – and still the bloodshed shows no signs of letting up.

The killing of drug dealer David Byrne during that incident was the moment a bitter feud between international drugs trafficker Christy Kinahan and the Dublin-based Hutch family exploded on to the streets of the Republic.

The name of Noel Kirwan, as associate of Gerry “the Monk” Hutch, on Thursday night became the latest footnote in the feud, his killing linked by Garda sources to the Kinahan cartel’s ruthless response to the events of that day in the Regency.

At least 10 people have lost their lives in the feud, although all of the killings bar one are believed to have been sanctioned by Kinahan.

The number could also be as high as 12 or 13, because, in inner city Dublin’s murky world of addiction, poverty and gangland violence, it can be difficult for detectives to ascribe motives for murders in absolute terms.

The feud has left the Garda, savaged by cuts during the economic crisis, playing catch-up. Kirwan’s killing has come less than a fortnight after a new command structure for armed Garda units was fast-tracked in response to the deepening feud.

Serious organised crime

The 55-strong unit was introduced to combat the threat from terrorism and serious organised crime in the capital. It was heralded as the final strand of the State’s armed support units, designed to complement the work of the Emergency Response Unit.

The difficulty for the Garda is that Kinahan has accumulated vast wealth from the relative safety of the Costa del Sol, where, despite unprecedented co-operation between the Garda and Spain’s Guardia Civil, he and his empire have remained out of reach.

Kinahan’s wealth and the fact that he is one step removed from the slaughter he is cultivating on the streets of Dublin means he can throw money at guns for hire without much in the way of consequences. The same cannot be said for the Hutches.

Kinahan, who moved his crime cartel to Spain 15 years ago to escape the reach of the Criminal Assets Bureau, launders the proceeds of his crimes through more than 200 companies in 20 countries.

The scale of his money-laundering activities emerged in a European Commission-funded report on international crime across Europe.

Gardaí earlier this year broadened their investigation into links between organised crime and the motor trade, targeting the laundering of money through companies selling high-value cars.

The first set of raids took place in March when 29 vehicles were seized from a garage controlled by members of the Kinahan gang. The Garda also says it has intervened in a number of planned killings related to the feud.

But, for now at least, the force has one more murder to solve.

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