NewsCrime Desk

Crime pays: Family flaunts ill-gotten gains

David Byrne with his flash jeep
David Byrne with his flash jeep

They look like two Premier League footballers in their pimped-up rides, but gangland brothers Liam and David Byrne wear the colours of just one team – the Kinahan mob.

The brothers have been turning heads in their south Dublin stronghold as they swan around in their extravagant jeeps.

Liam (36), parks his customised ‘Autobiography’ Range Rover outside his fortress home on Raleigh Square, Crumlin, and is regularly chauffered around by his friend and business partner Sean McGovern.

The specialist jeep costs an eye-watering €200,000 and features a chiller cabinet, electrically-powered picnic table, Mohair carpets and aluminium coat hooks.

Our surveillance team spotted David (32), driving a souped-up Mercedes G Wagon (G63 AMG), a six-litre monster worth €170,000 and which is so rare and expensive that only two were sold in Ireland in the last year.

They are the rides of choice for footballer Frank Lampard and United Arab Emirates premier Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is estimated to be worth more than €16billion.

David, who moves between Dublin and Spain and who has a luxury base near Marbella, is also regularly seen behind the wheel of a €30,000 Audi A5.

Both brothers cause a stir wherever they go; young children stop playing football on street corners and gaze in amazement as the pair drive through working-class communities.

The pair forged close links with Christy Kinahan’s Costa Cartel and based themselves between Dublin and Spain. Gardai suspect they are key organisers of drug and weapons shipments into Ireland for the mob.

The show of wealth by the two brothers on their home turf is an indication of how garda cutbacks have seriously damaged Ireland’s fight against organised crime.

This week marked the 19th anniversary of the murder of journalist Veronica

Guerin, whose brutal assassination at the hands of a ruthless drugs mob, led by drug lord John Gilligan, sparked the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau.

It was hailed worldwide as a huge success because it clamped down on drug dealers and criminals showing off their ill-gotten gains within the working-class communities where children were growing up in awe of their wealth.

But it seems that two decades later that legacy has been forgotten and in a series of cutbacks that has left the

Garda Síochána on its knees, a new breed of criminal is again feeling comfortable enough to show their communities that crime definitely does pay.

The Byrnes, from Raleigh Square in Crumlin, are headed up by family don James ‘Jaws’ Byrne, a veteran criminal who has convictions for assault and armed robbery. He recently had to pay up a large bill tax bill to the CAB based on his criminal activities.

Our photographs show the burly criminal striding purposely from his fortress home in Crumlin to meet his son Liam house at the far end of street.

The family ‘Don’ is said to be brimming with pride that his sons have manoeuvred their way to the very top of the Kinahan cartel and are now suspected of controlling the mob’s business in Dublin.

David still uses his father’s address, but is believed to have a home nearby. Their sister Joanne lives in Birmingham with her husband Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh at a €1million home.

They regularly return home in top-of-the-range motors and live an extraordinary life of luxury, despite settling a bill with the CAB and leaving Ireland penniless just 10 years ago.

Liam recently hired out the function room of the Radisson Hotel in Dublin 8 to host a plush christening party for his closest friends and associates. The Kinahan brothers, Daniel and Christopher Jnr, attended the celebrations along with associates from the U.K. and Spain.

The Sunday World was watching as David drove pals to the occasion in the pimped-up G Wagon and at one point stepped out to admire his ride.

Last year, our surveillance team photographed the 32-year-old in the company of Christy Jnr and Liam Rowe who had returned to Ireland to cheer on the mob’s favourite boxer Matthew Macklin.

Burly Rowe (35), once launched a legal challenge against gardai for the return of two €25,000 watches that he claimed were his and which were seized during a raid on Liam Byrne’s home.

We also snapped Jaws in the company of his sons in the front row of the 3Arena during the Macklin bout. Christopher Jnr and Daniel were centre stage at the MGM-sponsored event, but other well-known criminals were just there to enjoy the show.

The Byrne family put their wealth down to their enormous success in the used car business. Joanne and Bomber run a car business, TK Motors, which was established in 2010 and which has evidently made them a millionaire’s fortune in just a few short years.

Last year, Liam Byrne and his pal Sean McGovern registered a company, LS Active Car Sales Limited, to an address at Raleigh Square – just a stone’s throw from Jaws’ home, which is complete with top-of-the-range security, including moving cameras.

The Kinahan mob have become even more powerful with the murder of one-time associate Gerard ‘hatchet’ Kavanagh and his brother Paul in the past year. Former associate Paul Rice is also said to have fled Ireland in fear.