NewsCrime Desk

Flat-Cap strikes deal with dissident chiefs in Portlaoise Prison

Crime DeskBy Paula Mackin
Kevin Murray
Kevin Murray

A suspected gunman who is facing extradition to be charged in connection with the Regency Hotel shooting has struck a deal with dissident chiefs to be allowed on their landing in Portlaoise Prison.

Kevin Murray (46) is currently in custody in the North after being arrested at his Strabane home on September 5 under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Gardaí.

Before he was arrested, Murray was believed to have been a target for the Kinahan mob.

However, the Sunday World can reveal that Murray – who denies all involvement with the Regency attack – has now struck a jailhouse deal he hopes will buy his safety.

Secret prison talks have been taking place with high-profile prisoner Tony Taylor after a family member made an approach to a Strabane dissident, who in turn contacted members of Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) in Derry on Murray’s behalf.

Taylor was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1994 after he was seriously injured in a premature explosion in Derry.

He was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. In 2011, he was sentenced to three years behind bars for possession of a rifle.

It is alleged that an offer was made to keep Murray safe while behind bars.

Two guns, one rifle and one handgun with ammunition were offered in return for ONH welcoming him on to their wing and protection in Portlaoise Prison.

This last-ditch attempt to secure his safety comes after New IRA terror bosses sent a message to Murray informing him he would not be permitted on to any New IRA wings in either Portlaoise, Dublin or Maghaberry.

Gardaí are looking to bring charges against Murray in connection with the Regency shooting which led to the killing of gang figure David Byrne (34) on February 5.

Following the shooting, Murray’s name was circulated on the internet and he was spotted in a house in

Townsend Street. Sources close to him say he was armed and lying in wait for a revenge attack.

After several weeks he was regularly seen walking through the streets of Strabane and drinking in his local pub.

Kevin Murray

However, his confidence has dramatically diminished in recent weeks after being arrested and banged up inside Maghaberry Prison.

Sources close to Murray say he believes he would not survive a week on the criminal wing in Portlaoise.

In Maghaberry, there are no criminals connected to the Kinahan cartel – but that’s not in the case in Dublin.

Murray predicted the criminals would be desperate to be the man to take ‘Flat Cap’ out to win favour with the Kinahans.

One source close to Murray said: “He knows they would be falling over themselves to slit him, he’s OK in the north, but Portlaoise is a different ball game. 

“He knows he needs to get on to a republican wing, he knows if he goes on to the crim wing in Portlaoise he’s f***ed. 

“The reality is that solitary confinement is his best option to stay alive and he knows that. He’s still hoping that he won’t be extradited but that’s wishful thinking.”

The Sunday World can reveal the guns Murray is trading belonged to the New IRA.

Murray gained access to them when part of the organisation, before being expelled for selling counterfeit booze and cigarettes for his own gain.