NewsCrime Desk

Notorious gangster pleads for protection after rival's jail threats

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
Scared: Paschal Kelly stayed in his cell
Scared: Paschal Kelly stayed in his cell

NOTORIOUS gangster Paschal Kelly was forced to seek protection from prison authorities after a major falling out with the equally notorious Sligo drug dealer Patrick Irwin.

Sources have confirmed to the Sunday World that Kelly went to prison officers on Saturday last after an inmate entered his cell and warned him: “You can either walk off the wing or be carted off it.”

Kelly (50) – who was a key member of the gang that ordered the murder of Real IRA boss Alan Ryan in September 2012 – was then moved to Mountjoy’s C-Base on Saturday afternoon after pleading with jail bosses for protection.

“There had been a power play on the wing between Irwin and Kelly going on for several weeks,” a source told The Star.

“Irwin heard talk that Kelly was planning some kind of move against him and wouldn’t stand for it. Irwin is a genuine hard-man – he’s not the kind that would have sent someone else after Kelly, he’s the kind that would have went up to his cell himself.

“Kelly would have been regarded on the outside and on the inside as one of the biggest players out there.

Read: Notorious gangster placed in protection in Mountjoy Prison.

“But he didn’t feel safe enough to leave his cell for a number of days after word went out that Irwin was after him.”

It's understood authorities are now considering rehousing Kelly in Wheatfield prison.

Both Irwin (pictured below) and Kelly are viewed as two of the biggest orchestrators of the drugs trade within the prison system.

Kelly has been suspected of involvement in the drugs trade in prison ever since he was remanded in custody in October of last year. 

That happened after heavily-armed gardaí tracked him to a rural hideout in Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath after years on the run.

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.

Sligo drug dealer Patrick Irwin (33), is currently serving a three-year sentence for a horrific attack on a garda, alongside a seven-year sentence for drug-dealing.

In June of 2013, a court heard how Irwin was out on bail for possession of €67,000 worth of cocaine when he savagely attacked a garda, leaving the officer with a broken jaw.

In 2012, the CAB seized Irwin’s home in Dromahair, Co. Leitrim.

The court heard how Irwin’s partner, Avril Boland (pictured above), had a hairdresser’s salary of €300 per week, but had a luxurious lifestyle living in a high-quality house and taking foreign holidays.

Her bank account was in effect used to launder Irwin’s criminal funds, Judge Kevin Feeney said.

Sources confirmed that prison authorities are satisfied the threat to Kelly stems from the falling out with Irwin and that Irwin is backed up by a convicted arsonist from a notorious Dublin crime family who is serving a six-year sentence for arson.

Read: Paschal Kelly gets four-and-a-half years for tax evasion and threats to kill CAB officer.