NewsCrime Desk

INLA offer to whack 'flat-cap' Regency gunman

The so-called 'flat-cap' shooter
The so-called 'flat-cap' shooter

THE INLA have offered to take up a contract to murder the 'flat-cap' Regency Hotel gunman on behalf of the Kinahan cartel, the Sunday World can reveal.

The terror group's Dublin brigade has long-term links to a number of members of the Spanish-based mob based in the capital.

The group have extremely close links to gang member Paul Rice and act as "muscle" for the crime boss in the Tallaght area.

Gardai have previously stopped Rice in a car being driven by INLA man Paul 'Jaws' Kelly, who is believed to have been acting as his driver/bodyguard.

However, the Sunday World can reveal that INLA members based in the border area are offering their services to the Kinahan drug cartel to kill the 'flat-cap' dissident gunman.

The 46-year-old, whose identity is known to this newspaper, was snapped by a Sunday World photographer scarpering from the murder scene at the Regency Hotel with a pistol in his hand.

His identity is believed to be well-known to underworld figures, and the INLA are banking on the Kinahans paying a hefty price for his execution.

The Sunday World can reveal that two men from the Strabane area, who were responsible for the murder of Brian McGlynn in Derry in 2007, have been handpicked as the potential guns for hire.

The deadly duo murdered 28-year-old McGlynn, a native of Strabane, accusing him of drug dealing under the name of the INLA.

They have also been previously involved in a gun attack in Dublin four years ago, hired by a criminal gang.

"These boys are well known in the criminal world, they have been hired before for jobs.  From what I know, there has already been contact with the Kinahan gang. Word has been sent that they are for hire," a well-placed source said.

The Sunday World can also reveal that the planned hit is personal, stemming from a punishment shooting on a man with INLA links, carried out by Flat Cap and an accomplice.

"The INLA hate him and it has been going a long time. He was responsible for a botched punishment shooting of one of their own and that has not been forgotten; the cash is an added bonus," he revealed.

The gunman has been living at his home in Tyrone since the shooting at a boxing weigh-in in North Dublin.  He was part of a six-man gang who stormed the hotel looking to kill gangsters Daniel and Christopher Jnr Kinahan on the orders of the Hutch faction.

However, the hit squad arrived too late and the Kinahan brothers had left the room.

Gang member David Byrne was gunned down trying to flee the hotel through reception.

The 'Flat Cap' gunman was snapped leaving the hotel alongside another accomplice who was dressed as a woman.

They fled in a van with the four other gunmen who were dressed as a Garda Emergency Response Unit.

Flat Cap then made his way back north by bus and was pictured earlier this week walking through the streets of his home town using a walking stick.

This week, underworld enforcer Paul Rice was warned his life was in danger by gardai.

Paul Rice

However, a source has revealed that Rice was also fearful that members of the Kinahan cartel will turn on him.

The Tallaght mobster has retained links to the cartel but sources say he has been uneasy since his close pal Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh was shot dead in Spain in 2014, followed by his brother Paul Kavanagh in Dublin last year.

Rice attended the funeral of David Byrne, who was shot dead in the Regency Hotel shooting, but a source said that he was not greeted with open arms by other senior gang members.

"A lot of them were very stand-offish with him. He is definitely feeling under pressure and fears some members of the cartel will turn on him."

Rice spent time living in Spain where he and 'Hatchet' Kavanagh were suspected of involvement in running a drug importation business.

He later returned to Ireland and both he and 'Hatchet' were believed to have been involved in collecting debts for the cartel.

However, things have not been the same for Rice since Hatchet's murder and the subsequent killing of his brother Paul.

"There are some members of the cartel he wouldn't get along with and he's wary that they'd turn on him. It's certainly not one big happy group," said a source.

Rice is believed to have spent time abroad following the Kavanagh murders but has been back in Ireland for some time.

There were indications he was no longer working with the Kinahan cartel following those killings but sources said he is still in contact with them.

"He's still meeting with them but he's paranoid about some of those involved and they're not exactly doing anything to ease that paranoia," said a source.

Several associates of the cartel remained in Ireland this week including Freddie Thompson, Liam Byrne, Liam Roe, Greg Lynch and Sean McGovern but the Kinahans are no longer in the country.

Daniel Kinahan has flown in and out of Dublin a number of times since the Regency shooting and has spent time in the UK, Spain and other parts of Europe when not in Ireland.

Security sources say things remain tense as gardai fear further attacks in the gangland war between the Kinahan cartel and associates of the Hutch family. "Things are quiet but tense. Nobody is under any illusions that there is a serious likelihood of further murder attempts."