NewsCrime Desk

Ireland's Costa Mafia's blood bond is the envy of foreign mobs

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
Like father, like son: Christy Jnr with Christy Snr
Like father, like son: Christy Jnr with Christy Snr

Theirs is a bond of blood envied by the Russian, British, Eastern European, Moroccan and Colombian crime syndicates on the Costa del Sol.

The Irish mafia are more than a drug-dealing outfit brought together by a common goal, they are also a band of brothers forged in LOVE and held together by fear and HATE.
 
It is the closeness of key families from Dublin, all now linked to the Kinahan drug cartel, which has been hailed as one of their strengths as a mob. Compared to other outfits operating on the Costa, the Irish can trace back their associations to childhood and many are either directly related or have relatives who have married one another.
 
In a perverse reflection of the old Italian Cosa Nostra, they can trace their cohorts back to the very houses on the streets they themselves were reared. The roots run deep, but the closeness of individuals working together in the ruthless world of gangland can also cause a serious problem if the mob have any housekeeping to do.
 
Today we describe how the mob teetered on the brink of a war when two brothers, Gerard ‘Hatchet’ and Paul Kavanagh, were brutally murdered amid accusations that they had pocketed Kinahan funds. Ultimately, though, the allegiance of many mobsters was to their wider crime family.
 
Many of the most senior lieutenants in the Kinahan mob are closely related to one another and an army of foot soldiers coming through the ranks are often younger relatives of key associates.
 
It is truly a family affair from the very top to the bottom of the mob, but in the murky underworld of organised crime there is one thing that is thicker than blood –money. And in gangland it can buy anything from loyalty to a family’s love.
 
From the early days of the emergence of organised crime in Ireland, large families of brothers came to the fore. By its very nature, Catholic society and working-class areas spawn the largest of broods and so it is often the case that Italian and Irish crime syndicates have grown from individual units, where brothers follow one another into different roles in a gang.
 
The Genna crime family, the Sicilian mafia of Chicago, was headed up by six brothers. In New York the Gambino and Genovese outfits were all made up of siblings and cousins drawn together by blood. 
 
In the U.K. the Adams family – or the ‘A Team’ as they were known – are made up of Terry, Sean and Patrick. Of Irish heritage, they have terrorised Islington racking up more than 20 murders through drug trafficking and extortion.
 
In Ireland families like the Dunnes were the first in a long line of Dublin criminal gangs made up of siblings and they were followed by others like the Cahills and the Cunninghams.
 
When Christy Kinahan first looked to enter the big time, he choose his partner carefully. Jennifer Guinness kidnapper John Cunningham had criminal pedigree and similar ambitions.
 
The pair spent years developing contacts in Holland, Belgium, Spain and the U.K. before they really got their wholesale industry off the ground.
 
However, it would be their old contacts in Dublin and the new generations of their families who would really build an army for the Irish mafia – a band of brothers and cousins with ties of blood.
 
While Christy Snr was on the continent, his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr had grown up in the Oliver Bond flats. There they grew up with Greg Lynch – a cousin of Tracey Brady, who had married heroin dealer 'Hatchet' Kavanagh and later moved to Benalmadena with him.
 
Lynch was also a childhood friend of ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson, who would become the leader of a brutal drug gang that went to war with a rival faction run by his former pal Brian Rattigan.
 
Thompson is a cousin of the Byrnes of Raleigh Square. John Cunningham knew their father James ‘Jaws’ Byrne (below, right) from old. In turn both the Thompsons and the Byrnes are also related to another family who are key players in the mob, but who cannot be named as they are before the courts.
 
 
Fat Freddie’s wife Vicky Dempsey also has deep connections with the mob. Her brother Karl Dempsey served seven years after being caught with €200,000 worth of Kinahan drugs. 
 
The Thompsons and Byrnes are also cousins of Liam Rowe – a mob associate who once went to court looking for an expensive watch back after a Garda raid on his home.
 
On the northside, the Kinahan brothers befriended Gary Hutch – a nephew of veteran criminal Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch – and Gary Finnegan, another childhood pal.
 
They brought them all into the fold and with them came other associates and younger players anxious to learn the ropes.
 
Meanwhile, Hatchet and Paul Kavanagh were also first cousins of Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, who is married to Joanne Byrne – David and Liam’s sister. The couple fled Ireland after they had their home and “only asset” seized from them 10 years ago by the CAB. Since then they have been based in Birmingham, where they have all the trappings of multi-millionaires.
 
Others who have made the Costa their home have long associations with one another. On the Costa Blanca, where John Gilligan hoped to settle, his daughter Treacy married Liam Judge, the money man he had trusted with laundering his cash. 
 
His falling out with John Cunningham two decades ago means that he will never be welcome or safe in Alicante.
 
Others not involved with the mob are sensibly advised to keep their heads down and don’t cause any trouble if they want to live out their days under the Spanish sun.