NewsCrime Desk

Notorious gangster placed in protection in Mountjoy Prison

Paschal Kelly
Paschal Kelly

One of Ireland's most notorious gangsters has been placed on protection in Mountjoy Prison for his own safety due to a bitter fall-out with former associates.

Paschal Kelly (50) - who was a key member of the gang that ordered the murder of Real IRA boss Alan Ryan in September, 2012 - has been moved to a new landing after jail bosses received information of a credible threat against him.

The Coolock hood was moved from B Wing in the Dublin prison to the C Wing because of "genuine fears" that he could be attacked and injured - or worse.

A risk assessment will now be carried out to determine if he needs to be permanently transferred from Mountjoy.

Sources said it is suspected that Kelly has been involved in the drugs trade in the prison system ever since he was remanded in custody in October of last year. That happened after heavily-armed gardai tracked him to a rural hideout in Castlepollard, Co Westmeath after years on the run.

However, it has emerged that it is "most likely" that the threat against Kelly is coming from his former associates in the Mr Big crime organisation. Kelly and Mr Big - who is out on bail for serious offences - had a bitter falling out when the younger gangster failed to pay back Kelly a five-figure cash sum.

The man suspected of being behind the latest threats against Kelly in Mountjoy Prison is a Coolock criminal (27) who is serving a lengthy sentence for a robbery offence and has close connections to Mr Big.

"For the last year or so, Kelly has been acting the top dog in prison, so it must be a major surprise for him to have to be moved from his landing for his own protection," a source said night.

Kelly - who has 47 previous convictions - was jailed for four-and-a-half years last March for tax evasion, threats to kill a CAB officer and serious driving offences.

Last year, he also had his Co Cavan home, €14k cash and a 4x4 vehicle seized by CAB.

Ken Foy