NewsCrime Desk

Gang links to mystery Twitter feed spark fears of intelligence breach

Noel Duggan
Noel Duggan

Gardai are trying to establish if a security leak may be linked to the murder of feud victim Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan, who was brutally assassinated this week.

The country’s top cigarette smuggler – who had links to the very top of the leadership of IRA groups – had not been formally notified by gardai to say his life was under threat but had been quizzed by officers investigating the feud due to his links to Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch.

Duggan was not a Provo himself, but his involvement in the illegal cigarette trade gave him access to a number of individuals who gardai believe may have supplied the weapons and hitmen used in the Regency Hotel hit.

An intelligence operation recently led to the discovery of firearms linked to the Hutch gang.

Officers are investigating whether members of the same four-man hit team that travelled through a garda lockdown in the north inner-city to murder Eddie Hutch also moved freely through the Co Meath area this week to carry out the hit on ‘Kingsize’ as he sat in his car in the driveway of his home in the village of Ratoath.

Officers believe that the Kinahans ordered the hit on Duggan just one day after ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson returned to the country from Birmingham.

In a sinister development in the murder probe, the Sunday World can reveal that Duggan was named on an anonymous Twitter account which accused him of being an informer and Hutch’s close ally less than two weeks before he was shot dead.

That same account, which is now under investigation by detectives, featured pictures and the names of the men that gardai suspect carried out the Regency shooting.

It also contained detailed police information on a number of shooting incidents key to the feud, including intelligence on the shooting of boxer Jamie Moore outside Daniel Kinahan’s Spanish home in 2014.

The account, which was reported to Twitter more than a week ago for inciting murder, remained active until yesterday.

Eleven days before his murder, the account had singled ‘Kingsize’ out.  It has shared confidential pictures and names of individuals suspected of being involved in the Regency Hotel directly with Daniel Kinahan’s own account.

Officers are now attempting to identify the author of the account and where he came across highly-sensitive pictures and information relevant to the the Regency shooting investigation.

Key gang members, including Daniel Kinahan and accounts linked to Gary Finnegan, were following the Twitter feed which Gardai were also aware of before the hit.

Daniel Kinahan

Twitter, which has its headquarters in Ireland, put a block on the account yesterday, hours after a Sunday World team contacted one of its directors at his private residence.

We explained to him our concerns that it was fuelling the already-volatile feud and inciting murder.

Twitter will now be asked to hand over details of who set up the account, and from where, as officers attempt to establish if they have a leak in their own intelligence system.

It is understood that Daniel Kinahan is back in Spain but living a paranoid existence, smashing up mobile phones and barking orders to his lieutenants.

He has been fearful of another attack by the Hutch faction and it is understood that the discovery of a number of weapons in the gang’s possession in recent weeks sent him into a panicked frenzy.

Gardai suspect the weapons were going to be used in an attack similar to the Regency shooting. “It looks like they were planning a large scale attack that would have seen multiple people targeted,” said a source. “They’ve suffered two losses since the Regency shooting and are determined to strike back.”

The use of dissident republican guns-for-hire in the feud has caused further problems for the Hutch side as the Special Detective Unit has had republicans under intense surveillance making them easier to catch in the act.

As well as being under intense physical and electronic surveillance, republican circles are riddled with informers.

The feud has claimed three lives in 48 days and the Sunday World understands that Kinahan ordered Thompson back to Dublin as soon as he returned to his own Spanish bolthole.

Thompson is well experienced in gangland wars, having been the leader of one of the two warring factions in the bloody Crumlin-Drimnagh feud which claimed 16 lives over more than a decade.

Gardai are looking into the possibility some of the four-man hit squad involved in the Eddie Hutch murder were also involved in Kingsize’s murder.

“Even the fact a BMW was used is similar. BMWs were used in the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain and Eddie Hutch here,” said the source.

Several veteran criminals with links to Hutch are now fearful they will be targeted by the gang despite having no involvement in the Regency shooting which claimed the life of David Byrne last month.

“Orders have come from Spain that anyone linked to Hutch is a target,” said a source.

Martin ‘the Viper’ Foley was warned by gardai of an official threat to his life this week despite not being directly involved in the feud.

Daniel Kinahan was pictured this week at the MGM gym in Marbella. Kinahan is continuing his involvement in the boxing world and determined to keep MGM going with his boxer pal Matthew Macklin who has no involvement in crime.  

Macklin and other MGM fighters will be on the undercard to IBF world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Charles Martin at the O2 in London next month.

Nicola Tallant and Alan Sherry