NewsCrime Desk

Gangland gun victim 'Mago' shot for hunting Ireland's most wanted man

Johnny Keogh
Johnny Keogh

AN INLA hit team tried to whack the Kinahan Cartel’s top target, James ‘Mago’ Gately, after hearing he was hunting the location of fugitive bomb maker Johnny Keogh.

Gardaí are also looking to speak to Keogh about information relating to the feud shootings of Gareth Hutch and Michael Barr.

He has been on the run in the U.K., but the Sunday World understands Gately was making attempts to find him, and it sparked the drive-by attempt on his life in a north Dublin petrol station last Wednesday.

A Sunday World investigation can also reveal that the hit team used the same modus operandi as the killers of dissident IRA chief Vinny Ryan.

There are also similarities with a shooting attack on Ballymun man Glen Kiely.

In all three shootings the gunman fired from inside another car at a moving target and the getaway vehicle was abandoned outside the city more than 25 miles away.

The car used in the shooting of Gately was found abandoned in Ardee in Co. Louth, while the getaway vehicle used in Kiely’s hit was discovered in Ashbourne in Co. Meath.

The car used in the murder of Ryan was found abandoned and burned out in Kildare.

All three locations are outside Dublin and made use of the arterial routes around the city for a getaway. In all three shootings the hitman remained in the getaway car to target the victim.

Sources say that Daniel Kinahan has been making an alliance with the INLA for months since a series of botched hits by young and inexperienced shooters.

It is understood that he has furnished a number of senior members of the terror group with encrypted blackberry phones so he can talk directly to them without having to go through an intermediary. 

One of the hit team duo is based in Dundalk while a second lives in south county Dublin.

Gardaí investigating the daylight shooting are currently focusing on suspects linked to the New INLA, whose members include Keogh.

Gately (30), had a small operation in hospital to remove a bullet from his jaw after he miraculously escaped with his life at the Topaz garage in Clonshaugh on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday morning, armed gardai monitored Gatley as he was transferred from Beaumont Hospital to Blanchardstown Hospital by ambulance.

A source said he underwent a medical assessment to see if he needed plastic surgery to his jaw and neck. 


Gately (above) remains one of the Kinahan Cartel’s top three targets, along with family Godfather Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch and his brother Patsy Hutch. The mob accused Gately through their own internal investigation of being one of three ‘ERU’ gunmen involved in the Regency Hotel.

While he has been hiding out in the North and has been lucky to escape planned assassinations a number of times, he has been spending more time in Dublin lately and sources say he has been trying to establish the whereabouts of Johnny Keogh.

Keogh is Ireland’s most wanted man and is understood to be hiding out in the north of England. Gardai want to speak to him in relation to information he may have on murders believed to be carried out on behalf of the Kinahan Cartel.

In particular they want to quiz him about his whereabouts during Gareth Hutch’s murder on the morning of May 24.

They also believe he may have been drinking at the Sunset House pub shortly before dissident Barr was shot dead.


The Sunday World understands that Keogh has been in direct contact with Daniel Kinahan (above) since he exiled himself from Dublin and his home right in the heart of Hutch territory.

He has told friends that he is planning to move to Dubai, which has no extradition treaty with Ireland, and which is a bolthole for senior Kinahan members.

Keogh was convicted of membership of an illegal organisation when he was nabbed in a bomb making factory along with others including ‘Red’ Gar Byrne.

Byrne was appointed Dublin commander of the INLA by terror boss Paul ‘Jaws’ Byrne – a move which angered rival Belfast thug Gerard Mackin.

Mackin then led a splinter group which included Keogh. However, intelligence suggests there has now been another re-alignment of fractious group and Mackin, jailed last

March for nailing a man to a kitchen floor, is being cut adrift.

Keogh grew up in the north-inner city and was a classmate of many of the extended Hutch family. He is also a close friend of Eamon Cumberton, the man facing trial before the Special Criminal Court in relation to the murder of Barr.

He is also a close pal of a Ballymun mobster who was arrested and questioned in the aftermath of the Gareth Hutch murder but was released without charge. The thug has told friends that he is now based in Turkey.

Keogh was just 22 when he was caught red-handed making pipe bombs for the INLA, and was sentenced to eight years by the Special Criminal Court.