What is behind the deadly Dublin gangland feud?

Two murders in four days have ignited what could prove to be the country's most brutal gang war

What is behind the deadly Dublin gangland feud?

Gardaí at the scene of MOnday night's shooting in Dublin Image: Rolling News

Two gangland murders in the space of four days have uncovered what looks to be a bitter feud between two of Ireland's most powerful, and deeply entrenched, criminal organisations.

The slayings of David Byrne on Friday and Eddie Hutch on Monday have ignited what could prove to be the country's most brutal gang war.

The story involves two figureheads and their followers - and was instigated with the murder of a Dublin man in Spain in September 2015.

The rival factions are led by Gerry Hutch - a prominent figure of Dublin's criminal world since the 1980s, but who has long since claimed he was retired from crime - and Christy Kinahan Sr, a Spain based criminal from Dublin's southside who has built an empire that is estimated to be worth up to €1bn.

Murder of Gary Hutch

The current feud is widely believed to be rooted in the murder of Gary Hutch in Marbella.

The 34-year-old nephew of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch had been working with the Kinahan gang, spending much of his time in Spain. Problems arose when he was was suspected of crossing the gang, with some suggesting he had become a police informant.

Gerry Hutch and Kinahan have a long standing relationship, being “close associates” at one time, according to the Irish Independent.

Meetings between the two gang leaders were believed to have solved the problems – with Gerry Hutch understanding the issue had been resolved. However, Gary Hutch was lured back to the Costa del Sol by members of the Kinahan gang in Septeber of last year, where he was killed outside a block of apartments at 11.30 in the morning.

Those loyal to Gary Hutch are believed to have been enraged at the Kinahan gang’s betrayal of their agreement – with Gerry Hutch refusing numerous attempts by Christy Kinahan Sr to broker peace.

Following the murder, a source told The Irish Examiner that the Kinahan gang may have “overstepped the line” and “bitten off more than they can chew”, adding that Gary Hutch's "associates are not going to take this lying down.”

Prison attacks

Shortly after the murder of Gary Hutch, his brother Derek ‘Del Boy’ Hutch was brutally attacked in Dublin’s Wheatfield Prison. The Sunday World reported the attacks followed Hutch vowing revenge againt those who had committed his brother’s murder.

The attacks are reported to have been carried out on the orders of the Kinahan gang.

On New Year's Eve 2015 the Kinahan gang made their most audacious move - attempting to kill 'The Monk' in Lanzarote.

Attempted reprisal

In November 2015 the associates of Gary Hutch appeared to attempt to make their first reprisal. Kinahan associate Liam Roe was saved only when his would-be assassin's gun jammed in the car park of a Dublin hotel. It is believed several dozen members of the Kinahan organisation were in the hotel at the time.

The feud escalates

On February 5th, heavily-armed men dressed as Garda ERU officers entered the Regency hotel in Whitehall, on Dublin’s northside, during a boxing weigh-in. They were part of a team targeting members of the Kinahan gang, including Daniel Kinahan, the gang-leader’s son.

David Byrne, an associate of the Kinahan gang, is shot dead. Two of their associates are also shot and seriously wounded.

Gardaí outside the Regency Hotel, Dublin, where armed men dressed as gardaí killed David Byrne, an associate of the Kinahan gang.

Just three days after the Regency attack four gunmen burst into the home of Eddie Hutch in Ballybough in Dublin’s north inner city. The gunmen shot and killed Eddie, the brother of The Monk, in a revenge attack for the Regency shooting. The killing is widely seen as being a major escalation in the conflict.

Who are the leaders of the pack?

Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

At just 24 years old, Gerry Hutch made a name for himself among Dublin's criminal hierarchy when he was believed to have masterminded the 1987 robbery of a cash in transit van at Marino Mart in north Dublin, stealing £1.7m(punt). He was also the main suspect in the Clonshaugh Brinks robbery that saw £3m stolen in 1995. Hutch was never charged with either crime.

Starting in criminality before he reached his teens, Hutch was widely seen as being a meticulous, perhaps brilliant, plotter of these crimes. 

Gerry Hutch leaving the High Court in Dublin in 1999, following an application to have the Criminal Assets Bureau return deeds of property to him Image: RollingNews  

He has been involved in running a boxing gym in Dublin’s north inner city, where he originally comes from, as well as famously founding his own taxi firm, called Carry Any Body - a none-too-subtle nod to the CAB (Criminal Assets Bureau). He famously worked as a taxi driver in his stretch-Hummer taxi, once chauffeuring former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson to an event in Dublin.

Gerry Hutch (l) and Mke Tyson (c) at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin, in March 2006 Image: RollingNews

Hutch agreed a settlement of close to €2m with the CAB in 1999.

The now 52-year-old is reported to be held in high regard in the criminal community – that he has never been shot is seen as a mark of his standing in the underworld – and has avoided becoming embroiled in any of the gangland feuds that have arisen across the capital in the last two decades.

Hutch was ascribed his nickname by fellow criminals due to his clean living – forsaking drink and drugs.

He has long claimed he has left any engagement with criminality behind, once appearing on RTE’s Primetime current affairs programme in an attempt to clear his name. He was also portrayed as a peripheral character in the film biopic of murdered journalist Veronica Geurin.

Hutch has been reported to be retired for several years, with most of his time spent in Lanzarote. He is also reported to have requested that information removed from Google under 'right to be forgotten'.

Christy Kinahan

The man reported to be the head of Ireland’s largest drug gang, Kinahan is a multi-lingual, highly intelligent operator who controls a business empire that has been reported to be valued at up to to €1bn.

Originally from Dublin’s south inner city, the 57-year-old now spends most of his time in Marbella, Spain.

Having come from what The Irish Times recently described as “a highly respected family, one member of whom is well-known in the Irish trade union scene”, Kinahan was involved in a variety of petty crimes in the 70s, before a 1986 arrest in connection with the seizure of £117,000(punt) in Marino, north Dublin, marked his ascent into major criminal activity.

Kinahan was sentenced to six years – he told the court he was a drug addict and looking to reform himself through education in prison.

While imprisoned in the 90s, Kinahan refused temporary release so he could finish his degree in French. He now speaks several languages, including Dutch and Spanish.

Having served several prison terms in Ireland he was released in 2001, shortly after which he moved to Spain, where he began to expand his drugs business, establishing connections with international organisations.

A Co Kildare warehouse raid in 2008 uncovered drugs and guns belonging to Kinahan’s gang and led to an investigation that crossed the continent and culminated in co-ordinated raids by several European police forces on premises across Europe in 2010 – over 700 officers from different forces were involved, with Kinahan and several others arrested.

The investigation probed money laundering and property deals across the globe – but Kinahan and his associates were all eventually released without charge, with investigators failing to find the evidence necessary.