NewsCrime Desk

Regency hotel attack machine guns 'stolen from IRA arms dump'

Regency hotel attack machine guns 'stolen from IRA arms dump'

THE AK-47 assault rifles used in the Regency Hotel attack may have been stolen from an IRA arms dump over a decade ago.

The high-powered weapons were used by associates of slain gangster Gary Hutch in the brutal attack in which rival mobster David Byrne (34) was murdered and two of his pals were shot.

Sources have revealed that the use of the AK-47s in the attack has increased tension among senior dissident Republicans in the capital.

Reports indicated that a long-time close associate of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch is now being blamed for stealing the weapons more than 10 years ago.

This veteran IRA figure attended the funeral of revenge murder victim Eddie Hutch last Friday. It has emerged that he is being investigated for providing the high-powered weapons used in the hotel attack.

“This individual is a true veteran of the gangland scene in the capital for four decades and he has managed to always keep his head above water,” a source said.

“But serious questions are now being asked about him and his relationship with the gang who carried out that shooting.

“There has long been a belief that weapons of this calibre were stolen from an IRA stockpile well over 10 years ago and there is now major suspicion that this individual was behind that.

“The view among senior IRA figures is that these weapons should never have got into the hands of the gangsters who were involved in that attack,” the source said.

Tensions remained high in the capital this week, with gardai fearful of more revenge attacks in the bitter feud that has already claimed three lives.

The sons of cartel boss Christy Kinahan, Daniel and Christopher Jnr, are understood to still be in the capital. They are believed to have attended a social event in the Islandbridge area of the city on Saturday night, which passed off without incident.

The whereabouts of the cartel’s number one target Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch are unknown, but he is thought to be in hiding and is not believed to have left the country.

Massive garda investigations into the murders of Byrne and Hutch are continuing.

Sources have revealed that it is expected that a number of targeted searches of properties will take place this week.

Gardai have identified most of the six-man gang involved in the Regency Hotel attack and the four-man mob involved in the Hutch murder.

Armed officers are continuing to mount operations to ensure there are no more murders – more than 40 gang members and their families have been warned of threats against their lives.

The security operation has also spread to the country’s jail system, with a number of associates of Gary Hutch in protective custody. These include his brother, Derek ‘Del Boy’ Hutch, and Eddie Hutch’s son Alan.

Neither Alan or ‘Del Boy’ were granted compassionate leave from jail to attend Eddie’s funeral last week.

“Jail authorities are aware of serious threats on a number of individuals because of this feud and with that in mind a special plan has been put in place to ensure the safety of a number of prisoners,” a jail source said.

Yesterday, the Herald revealed that a young criminal believed to be involved in the murder of David Byrne had surrendered himself to prison authorities over fears he will be targeted in revenge attacks.

Another associate of the Hutch family also surrendered himself to gardai on a theft warrant on February 6.

The man, who is not suspected of involvement in the feud, is believed to have taken the decision because he fears for his safety.

Ken Foy