NewsCrime Desk

Ex-Sinn Fein man nabbed heading to Dubai and quizzed over Regency attack guns

Mary Lou McDonald and Jonathan Dowdall
Mary Lou McDonald and Jonathan Dowdall

Former Sinn Fein Councillor Jonathan Dowdall was arrested as he tried to board a flight to Dubai earlier this week by officers investigating the murder of David Byrne.

It is understood that Dowdall, who had just been served a Garda Information Message (GIM) that his life was under threat, had been under surveillance for months.

He is being quizzed about a weapons warehouse in north county Dublin where it is understood the guns used in the Regency Hotel attack were stored.

He is also being questioned about driving Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch around the country before the weapons were seized in Slane, in Co. Meath, last March.

The Sunday World understands that Dowdall, who has said he was a friend of the Hutch family, is suspected of being involved in the logistics of the Regency hit.

He is being held in custody until today, when he will have to be charged or released.

Dowdall’s home was raided by officers from the Special Detective Unit in March, during which the Garda Sub Aqua Unit searched a pond at the back of his home.

At the time, officers looking for firearms and explosives also seized a white BMW 535D car belonging to him.

A BMW racing bike was also taken from the premises. After the raid, Dowdall took to the airwaves to say he found the experience “traumatising”.

He told Joe Duffy he was fully tax compliant and worked hard to pay staff at his electrics firm.

“To this day, I’m still breaking my arse like everybody else to pay for the car,” he said.

He claimed that although there were four cars in the driveway, officers had only taken the BMW because the others “didn’t look flashy enough”.

When quizzed about the pond at the back of his home, he said he had built it himself and kept Japanese Koi fish as a hobby.

Garda divers were brought in to search Dowdall's 'pond' 

He later said: “If anybody has any information or evidence that I’m involved in crime, or receiving proceeds from crime in any shape or form, they should go to the Gardaí.

“There have been claims made on social media claiming I’m somehow connected or involved. I’m not, in any way, shape or form.

 “People in the north inner city would laugh if you asked them if they thought I was involved in crime.”

While he claimed to know Gerry Hutch, he said he did not know the veteran criminal well.

“When you grow up in an area you know these people. I personally wouldn’t know Gerard very well. He’s a very quiet man. He’s not this cold, hard man he’s being portrayed as. He would give you the shirt off his back,” he said.

“He has a boxing club which I have sponsored since 2007. It’s there as a youth club for all the kids.”

Dowdall quit Sinn Finn last year and later claimed he was bullied by other members of the party in the Dublin Central organisation. He went on to work for Independent Councillor Christy Burke in his bid for a Dáil seat.

Dowdall had worked closely with Sinn Fein Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald prior to resigning his seat and made the bullying allegations during an interview.

Mary Lou, Gerry Adams and Dowdall

McDonald denied the allegations, saying she always had a “very good relationship” with the former north inner city councillor.

It is understood that Dowdall was attempting to board a flight for a family holiday in Dubai when he was arrested in Dublin airport on Tuesday night. 

It has since emerged that key members of the Kinahan Cartel are holed up in the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier today Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch's nephiew Gareth was shot dead in Dublin, full story here.

Last wekk Patrick Hutch, a brother of Gary Hutch, was charged with the murder of David Byrne. The 24-year-old, from Champions Avenue, Dublin, appeared before Judge Hugh O’Donnell at a late special sitting of Dublin District Court on Wednesday night.

The court heard that Mr Hutch “made no reply” when charged with Mr Byrne’s murder and that the DPP had directed trial on indictment.

Hutch was remanded in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on Wednesday, when the case will be listed for mention.