NewsCrime Desk

Kinahan gang had previously tried to whack Regency Hotel hitman

Regency Hotel gunmen
Regency Hotel gunmen

A feared hitman, who is suspected of involvement in the Regency Hotel gun attack, was himself lucky to survive after one of his associates tried to set him up just weeks before the hotel bloodbath.

Sources have revealed that the gangster, who is aged in his late 20s, managed to flee a north-Dublin car park after another criminal who he has trusted and worked with for years lured him to a bogus meeting.

No shots were fired in the apparent murder attempt because the intended target got "spooked and fled the scene" when he noticed a car with two suspicious-looking men in the car park.

The incident is believed to have been organised by the Kinahan cartel and sources revealed that while it increased gang tensions in the weeks before the Regency attack, it is also leading to fear on the streets of the north inner city with concerns that there may be an imminent attack.

These concerns are growing because the hitman's former associate has now linked up with a number of INLA figures who are classified as 'highly dangerous' by gardai.

The criminal who was almost set-up is the same gangster who warned last month that the gang war between the Christy Kinahan cartel and the Hutch mob will not be over until Daniel Kinahan is dead.

"We will not rest until Daniel Kinahan is dead. He caused all of this, it won't end until he is in his grave," the hitman allegedly said.

Daniel Kinahan, the son of cartel boss Christy Kinahan, was the chief target of the Regency attack, but he escaped unharmed.

Gardai raided a property linked to the criminal as part of a series of house searches last month that also saw Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch's home being targeted.

The gangster, who is suspected of being one of the AK-47 gunmen, is a north inner city criminal who has built a reputation as a feared hitman and is suspected of carrying out the murders of Paul Kavanagh last year and Eamon 'The Don' Dunne in 2010 on behalf of the Christy Kinahan cartel.

However, he cut ties with that mob after the murder of his close pal Gary Hutch in Spain last September.

In the aftermath, sources said that the hitman refused to attend a number of meetings that the cartel attempted to organise with him because he was "disgusted and heartbroken".

It is understood that a decision was then made to take out the hitman who had worked so well for the cartel in the past.

This was one of the first indications that a bloody gang war was about to break out and it has now emerged that the Kinahan cartel decided to strike first, but were unsuccessful.

Ken Foy