NewsCrime Desk

Kinahan jail enforcer protects ‘Mago’ suspect from Hutch attacks

James Gately
James Gately

A 25-YEAR-OLD criminal arrested in connection with the attempted murder of Hutch henchman James ‘Mago’ Gately has been taken under the wing of the Kinahan gang’s main enforcer in Mountjoy Prison.

The gangster fears the young criminal could become a prime Hutch target.

The Co Meath man was questioned for two days at Santry Garda Station about the botched hit before being brought to court on outstanding bench warrants.

After a brief appearance at Dublin District Court, he was remanded in custody and placed on the so-called ‘Kinahan’ landing at Mountjoy Prison where senior cartel figures are housed.

Among these feared gangsters is a violent 30-year-old north inner city criminal who has been locked up since last year after investigations into a feud murder.

The burly fitness fanatic has taken on the role as “leader of the Kinahan pack” and exerts “a major degree of control”, a source said. Only last week, he made a series of threats after some of his associates were searched after a package of drugs was found on the prison roof.

Earlier this year, he threatened a senior member of the ‘Mr Big’ drugs organisation.

“This guy has huge clout behind bars. People are terrified of crossing him,” the source added.

“Over the past year, he has played a pivotal role in the supply of drugs and other contraband into the prison system.” He has since been moved to another jail but continues to have a lot of influence.

When the 25-year-old ‘Mago’ suspect was locked-up a fortnight ago, the enforcer “vouched for him”, meaning he would not be targeted by any other Kinahan-aligned gang members.

“This young lad would have nothing like the criminal pedigree of some of the characters in Mountjoy but he’ll have no problems because he has been vouched for,” said the source.

However, the Co Meath man is a convicted drug dealer and is facing burglary and other serious charges before the courts.

He is due to appear before court later this month.

Gately (30) was shot in the neck while sitting in a car at the Topaz Garage in Clonshaugh, north Dublin, on May 10. He spent a number of days in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital recovering.

Such were the fears of another attack that members of the Armed Support Unit (ASU) patrolled the Beaumont area until Gately was discharged. Since his release from hospital he has kept a low profile.

At one point, gardai questioned a dissident Republican at his Co Louth home about the failed assassination.

They believe the man, who is in his 50s, supplied a vehicle that was used in the shooting. Armed detectives raided his home and seized his vehicle, which was taken away to be examined by a forensics team.

The man has long-standing links to the dissident republican movement and has previous convictions for firearms offences but he was not arrested in the raid by gardai investigating the ‘Mago’ shooting.

Gately was hit up to five times, including once in the neck. However, four shots were lodged in his bullet-proof vest, saving his life.

He had walked out of the busy filling station moments before being gunned down.

Gately has been a close associate of the Hutch clan since he was a child and was photographed carrying the coffin of Gary Hutch. In the aftermath of Gary Hutch’s death, sources revealed that Gately refused to attend a number of meetings with the cartel because he was “disgusted and heartbroken” about what had happened to his pal.