The six unsolved gun murders linked to the Kinahan cartel

From hard men to soft targets, drugs gang led from Spain has been willing to organise hits

The recent murder of David Byrne and the gunning down of Eddie Hutch four days later have brought the public's focus like never before onto the international drugs gang led by Christy Kinahan.

Byrne, a 33-year-old father of two, was a member of the gang and was killed with men aligned to it were attacked by a group of five gunmen at a boxing tournament weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra.

And when Eddie Hutch, a 59-year-old father of five, was shot dead at his home on Poplar Row, Dublin 1, last Monday week, Kinahan gang members were nominated as suspects.

The same crime syndicate, with a leadership based around Marbella in Spain but which also many members in Dublin, was also believed to have been behind the shooting dead of Eddie Hutch's nephew, Gary Hutch (34), in Spain last September.


Those three murders have been well documented in recent days because they are now believed to represent the opening phase of a tit-for-tat gun feud between Gary Hutch’s associates in Dublin and the wider Kinahan gang.

However, a lesser known fact is that the Kinahan gang is suspected of responsibility for at least six murders, three of which were carried out in Dublin and three in Spain.

Victim: Paddy Doyle

When and where: February 4th, 2008, Spain

Status: Unsolved

The Dubliner (27) was gunned down on a Monday afternoon while traveling as a passenger in a car driven by friend and fellow criminal Gary Hutch. The men were both from Dublin’s north inner city - Doyle from Portland Place and Hutch from nearby Champions Ave.

Their involvement in serious organised crime had taken them to Spain, where they were closely associated with the Christy Kinahan crime empire. Doyle was shot shortly after he had left a gym.

He was in the BMW 4X4 vehicle in Cancelada, near Marbella, on the Costa del Sol, driven by Hutch. The occupant of another car pulled up alongside and opened fire.

At least five shots hit the BMW carrying the Irish men. Four went through the windscreen and two went through the passenger door. Hutch lost control and the vehicle hit a lamp post on the side of the road, coming to a standstill. Doyle got out of the car and tried to run.

However, the gunman opened fire again and hit Doyle twice in the head, fatally wounding him.

Gardaí believe he was murdered after crossing the Kinahan gang after arriving in Spain in late 2005. Doyle had left Ireland on the run from both the Garda and his criminal enemies.

He was linked to one of the gangs based in the neighbouring Dublin suburbs of Crumlin and Drimnagh that were locked in a bitter feud for more than a decade.

On November 13th, 2005, when Darren Geoghegan (26) and Gavin Byrne (30) were shot dead in a feud related attack in a car in Firhouse, south Dublin - Doyle emerged as the chief suspect. The men were believed to have been murdered as part of an internal row within their own crew.

And just two days later, when rival gang member Noel Roche (27), Drimnagh, was spotted leaving a Phil Collins concert, gunman Doyle and a driver were dispatched to find him and shoot him dead.

They caught up with him on the night when Doyle shot Roche dead in traffic on Clontarf Road, Clontarf.

Paddy Doyle's brother, Barry Doyle (30), is also a gangland killer. He is currently serving a life sentence for the shooting dead of rugby player Shane Geoghegan in a case of mistaken identity in Limerick in 2008. He was paid by the McCarthy-Dundon gang to shoot dead one of their rivals but mistook Mr Geoghegan for the intended target.

Victim: Eamon Dunne

When and where: April 23rd, 2010, Dublin

Status: Unsolved

Shot dead in a pub in north Dublin, Eamon Dunne’s murder by the Kinahan gang symbolised perfectly its control over Irish organised crime.

Dunne, a 34-year-old from Dunsoughly Drive, Finglas, was the most feared criminal the underworld had seen for decades; perhaps sharing that title with Limerick’s Wayne Dundon, the head of the McCarthy-Dundon gang.

Dunne lost his life in a gun attack while he sat drinking at the Fassaugh House pub in Cabra where a 40th birthday party was underway. The attack was planned and executed with near military precision.

Two gunmen were involved, one of whom walked up to the seated Dunne and shot him fatally at close range.

His accomplice stood guard at the door, warning everyone to keep back; his firearm at the ready to shoot anyone who tried to tackle the killer.

Dunne had taken over the Finglas-based drugs and armed robbery gang when its former leader Marlo Hyland was shot dead at a house in Finglas in December, 2006.

Hyland, who like Christy Kinahan was originally from Cabra, was shot dead by his own gang - Dunne included - after he became the subject of unprecedented Garda and media scrutiny.

In the last year of Hyland’s life drugs with an estimated street value of €15 million were seized from his henchmen.

About 30 of them were arrested and charged under Operation Oak, established in 2005 to bring Hyland down. But when Dunne took over from Hyland, he drew even more attention to the gang and to the drugs trade in Dublin generally, by arranging the shooting dead of an unprecedented 12 people in the 40 months he led the gang.

That rate of killing was unprecedented and completely destabilised the Dublin-centred Irish drugs market that Kinahan’s gang supplied and which, by 2010, was under pressure as recreational drug users’ disposable incomes collapsed during the recession.

In order to restore some calm and end the gun feuding - not to mention deflect the media’s and Garda’s attention elsewhere - the Kinahan gang decided to murder Dunne.

Victim: Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh

When and where: September 6th, 2014, Spain

Status: Unsolved

The 44-year-old Dubliner, a former boxer, was well known in Irish crime circles as a hard man and enforcer; somebody who would demand the payment of drugs debts with menace. He worked for the Kinahan gang and has been described by Garda sources as being used as “muscle” by the faction when the need arose in both Spain and Ireland.

Kavanagh was sitting in bar in Elviria close to Marbella one when a gunman burst in and fired a large number of shots at him, wounding him several times and killing him instantly. He was believed to have been lured to the pub for a meeting with somebody he trusted.

He had been a drug dealer in Ireland, mainly supplying the market in Tallaght, before moving to Belamadena where he lived for almost 10 years before being killed.

Gardaí believed he had fallen foul of members of the Kinahan gang and was killed for that reason, though the exact nature of the dispute is unclear.

Kavanagh’s son, Jamie Kavanagh, was one of the boxers who was weighing in recently at the Regency Hotel for the Clash of the Clans bouts when five gunmen burst in looking for members of the Kinahan gang to shoot.

There is no suggestion whatever that Jamie Kavanagh has any involvement in crime gangs or any form of criminal activity. He was taking part in the tournament because those promoting it are based in Spain, close to where he once lived, and he has had an ongoing sporting involvement with them.

Jamie Kavanagh was due to headline the card and would have been fighting for a European title. The event was cancelled after the shooting.

Victim: Paul Kavanagh

When and where: March 26th, 2015, Dublin

Status: Unsolved

A brother of Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh, and uncle to boxer Jamie Kavanagh, Paul Kavanagh was ambushed outside a rented house where he was living in Drumcondra, north Dublin.

Like his brother, gardaí believe he was a debt collector for the Kinahan gang. However, they became convinced Paul Kavanagh was keeping some of the money that he was collecting from Irish drug dealers for the produce they had bought from the Kinahan gang.

Paul Kavanagh knew his life was at risk and, while he was from Drimnagh, gardaí believe he was living in Drumcondra in an effort to evade the men he knew wanted him dead.

When the father of two came out of the house he was renting and got into his car, the vehicle was rammed from behind. His killer then moved in and fired a number of shots through the windscreen, fatally wounding him. As the killer was being driven away by another man, they crashed their car and were forced to abandon it, but not before setting it on fire in the middle of the street.

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern was visiting a house on the road where the incident unfolded and was pictured on the street shortly after the murder.

When Paul Kavanagh’s funeral took place, the UFC star Conor McGregor was in attendance.

Victim: Gary Hutch

When and where: September 24th, 2015, Spain

Status: Unsolved

Gary Hutch (34) was gunned down beside a swimming pool in a communal area of the Angel de Miraflores apartments complex, near Marbella on the Costa del Sol on the morning of Thursday, September 24th last.

A drug dealer and armed robber, he was an associate of the Kinahan gang but they believed, apparently incorrectly, that he was a Garda informer and decided to kill him.

Garda sources said that Gary Hutch was also suspected of plotting to shoot dead a leading member of the Kinahan gang. Initially after negotiations between the Kinahan gang and members of the Hutch family back in Dublin, it was agreed that Gary Hutch would not be harmed.

Instead the Hutch family would pay a six-figure sum to the Kinahan gang and Gary Hutch would agree to step away from the drugs trade. With this deal apparently in place, Hutch returned to Spain in 2015, having fled previously over fears for his safety.

But despite the negotiations the Hutchs conducted with the Kinahan gang and the money paid to its members, Gary Hutch was still shot dead last September.

And when a group of armed men attacked the boxing event at the Regency Hotel last Friday week they were believed to be associates of Gary Hutch’s seeking revenge on the gang that murdered him.

In May 2010, more than 30 suspected members of the Kinahan gang were arrested, many of them in Estepona, Marbella, Fuengirola and Mijas in Spain.

Gary Hutch was the sole suspect arrested in Ireland as part of the international inquiry into the gang, Operation Shovel.

Victim: Eddie Hutch Snr

When and where: February 8th, 2016, Dublin

Status: Unsolved

The 59-year-old father of five was shot dead at his home on Poplar Row in Dublin’s north inner city last Monday week.

Eddie Hutch Snr had a number of convictions and his finances were investigated by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

He was investigated in that regard as part of its inquiry into how his brother Gerry Hutch laundered the proceeds of major armed robberies. A bank account in Eddie Hutch Snr's name containing about €160,000 was found and the cash seized. However, gardai do not believe he was involved in organised crime.

They believe he was shot dead simply because he was a member of the Hutch family.

It appears after Gary Hutch’s associates launched the attack at the Regency Hotel that killed David Byrne, his - Byrne’s - associates wanted to strike back at those close to Gary Hutch and picked Eddie Hutch Snr because he was a soft target.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times