Latest gangland victim had several brushes with the law and mob links
NOEL Kirwan had several brushes with the law in his younger days, but was surprised to find himself being made a target in the Kinahan-Hutch feud.
Originally from Railway Street in Dublin’s north inner-city, he had close ties to Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch and other well-known crime figures dating back years.
In 1983, Kirwan appeared in the Special Criminal Court charged with attempting to burn down the house of a leading senior counsel.
Kirwan and an accomplice were charged with malicious damage to Richard Cooke’s home in Clonskeagh, south Dublin. While the court accepted that witnesses spotted Kirwan and the other man getting out of a vehicle used by the arsonists on the night of the incident, they were acquitted after witnesses claimed they had been drinking with them that night.
The same year Kirwan and another man were convicted of demanding money with menaces from a video shop owner in Parnell Street. The pair had been demanding protection money from the business owner and arranged for another man to drive a car through his store when he wouldn’t pay.
The video shop owner was later told he would be shot and his family would be hurt if he testified in the case. Members of the man’s family fled the country as a result of the threats.
The video shop owner went to the Official IRA looking for protection and said they gave him a pen with a hidden microphone to record Kirwan and his accomplice demanding money.
However, the victim said he never used the recording device. He also told how he got Garda protection as a result of the threats following the intervention of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey.
Kirwan himself had connections to the Official IRA.
He was described in court as Eamon Kelly’s brother-in-law. Kelly was shot dead by the Real IRA in Killester, north Dublin in December 2012.
The pair used to drink together in the old Worker’s Party Club on Gardiner Street in Dublin’s north inner-city back in the 1980s. Kirwan was present on the night Kelly stabbed a man outside the club in 1984.
He gave evidence in the trial and tried to claim Kelly wasn’t there when the stabbing occurred. He said he had been drinking with Eamon’s brother Matt that night, but Eamon wasn’t there.
Despite the claims, Kelly (below) was convicted and sentenced to 10 years. During the trial Kirwan said he heard it claimed that he was Kelly’s bodyguard, but he denied this was the case.
By the 1990s Kirwan was involved in the anti-drugs marches in the north inner-city which were supported by republican groups.
He appeared in court in 1996 charged with possession of a firearm or imitation firearm for the purpose of intimidation.
He had no court appearances in recent years, but was understood to have been involved in the security industry.
He was photographed accompanying Gerry Hutch to the funeral of his brother Eddie, who was shot as part of the feud in February. As well as links to the Hutch family, he also had ties to Liam Roe, who is related to a woman who was close to Kirwan.
His family say he was killed purely because he was a friend of Gerry Hutch.
His niece described Kirwan as an “ordinary man who ran drug marches in the 1990s”.
“He was called a scumbag, a ‘vigo’ [vigilante], a knacker back then. Now people still are raw because he did what the Gardaí should have done. But he was shot because he had a friend . When does it stop? Our family are heartbroken.”
Another niece said: “He was in a bit of trouble in his 20s, but all he did from that time was help people and because he was talking to a friend at another innocent man’s funeral he gets killed.”