NewsCrime Desk

Kinahan cartel hit-squad causing havoc in bloody feud

Members of the Garda forensics team at the scene of Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan's murder
Members of the Garda forensics team at the scene of Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan's murder

The same two hitmen for hire are believed to have assassinated IRA member Michael ‘Mickey’ Barr, Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan and Eddie Hutch Snr on the orders of the Kinahan Cartel.

Eddie Hutch

The kill team are backed up by at least eight others who operate as getaway drivers and spotters, including two brothers involved in the murder of Baiba Saulite.

Baiba Saulite

While countless others have offered their services as guns for hire in exchange for a write-down of their drug debts, the cartel prefer to use their ‘best’ men – and just 10 suspects make up the death squads that have brought mayhem to the streets.

On the other side of the feud, the Hutch gang have at least five highly-trained assassins and countless paramilitary guns for hire.

Gardai probing the brutal pub slaying of Barr believe the same hit-team that killed Hutch and Duggan were responsible.

Michael Barr

Barr was suspected by detectives of having helped source the guns used in the Regency Hotel killing of David Byrne and also of having ‘put up’ the assassin known as ‘Flatcap’ in a safe-house in the wake of the killing on February 5.

Sources say the investigation into Barr’s killing is complicated by the fact he may not have had authorisation from his superiors in the North to facilitate the use of IRA weapons in the Regency killing.

Barr was shot three times – including once in the head – when two gunmen clad in masks entered the Sunset House Bar, in Summerhill, Dublin, where he worked as bar manager, at 9.35pm on Monday night.

One of the men being looked at in connection with Monday night’s killing is a convicted armed robber. One is in his 20s and prides himself on his status as a hitman for hire. Another is responsible for a number of murders, including that of Paul Kavanagh.

Two of the gunmen are also chief suspects in the slaying of smuggler Noel ‘Kingsize’ Duggan (55), in his car at his home in The Old Mill housing estate in Ratoath, Co. Meath on March 23.

Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan

A source told the Sunday World: “These two lads’ names are now featuring in all three investigations.

“Duggan was also previously under threat from dissidents for failing to meet their payment demands. The most probable reason for his killing remains his association with Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch, but other lines cannot be ruled out.”

Meanwhile, the Sunday World understands that getaway cars used in Duggan’s murder were stashed near his Meath home for up to a week as the Kinahan hit team waited for their chance to ambush him.

Duggan had absolutely no idea he was being stalked by paid killers as he went about his daily business. The cigarette smuggler, who had a close association with those at the very top of paramilitary circles both north and south of the border, lived under the shadow of hired assassins in the last days of his life, Gardaí believe.

Two cars which were found burnt out shortly after the shooting had been stored in a nearby housing estate for at least a week before they were used in his murder.

The cars, a BMW and a Saab, which were both dark in colour, had been left at a car park at the back of Cairn Court estate just off Glascarn Lane in Ratoath.

Both were subsequently found on fire shortly after the shooting back at the same car park.

Following Monday night’s killing of Barr, the hit-team fled through Ballybough before driving up Millmount Road and dumping their Cork-registered silver Audi A6 at the top of Walsh’s Road in Drumcondra.

Both the homes of Barr and ‘Flatcap’ – in Dublin and Strabane, Co. Tyrone – were the subject of simultaneous raids by Gardaí and the PSNI on the Thursday before Barr’s murder.

Flat Cap

‘Flatcap’ was thought to have fled Strabane in the wake of the raids, but the Sunday World has learned that he attended the ‘wake house’ of his pal Barr in the Tyrone town on Thursday – three days after the 35-year-old was blasted to death.

He was spotted attending the house in Derg Villas just hours before the Sunday World approached Barr’s family home in the cul de sac for comment.

As we approached the house in Strabane on Thursday, two men emerged and ordered our reporters to leave.

“Get the f**k out of here or I’ll shove that phone down your throat,” one of the men told our reporter.

Barr (35), assured friends he was under the protection of a top Dublin dissident just hours before he was blasted to death. During a drinking session after last Sunday’s Tyrone GAA clash against Cavan in Croke Park, the Strabane man laughed off concerns when questioned by two pals about the possibility his life was in danger.

The two friends are from Strabane and Donegal with links to Republican Action Against Drugs and one of the men’s loyalty has been questioned in the past.

In the wake of Barr’s killing, the group now styling itself as the ‘IRA’ issued a statement claiming Barr was a volunteer, while graffiti was daubed on walls around the town stating “RIP Michael Barr, Join the IRA”.

Barr had served time in Portlaoise prison in the past and was acquitted of IRA membership along with six other men last year.

The republican group known as the ‘IRA’ said Mr Barr was an “IRA volunteer” but “was not involved in the feud whatsoever”. It also said the guns used in the Regency Hotel attack “were not IRA weapons”.

Nicola Tallant and Patrick O'Connell