NewsCrime Desk

TB fears for Hutch hit suspect

Imre Araka
Imre Araka

AN Estonian man charged with conspiracy to commit the murder of Hutch gang associate James ‘Mago’ Gately has been rushed to an isolation unit in Mountjoy Prison with a suspected case of TB.

Imre Arakas (58) is accused of conspiring with others not before the courts to murder Gately in Northern Ireland between April 3 and 4.

Arakas was taken to the Challenging Behaviour Unit (CBU) late last week after medical staff in Mountjoy suspected he may be suffering from tuberculosis, a source confirmed to the Herald last night.

The health of the prison staff and other inmates is at serious risk if it emerges that Arakas has the potentially fatal disease.

As a precaution, staff must wear masks, gloves and plastic aprons when feeding Arakas and he is also wearing a protective mask to prevent the spread of the highly infectious disease.

TB is a lung infection that if left untreated, kills about half of those affected.

It is spread through the air when people who have active TB in their lungs cough, spit, speak or sneeze.

Symptoms include a chronic cough with blood-containing sputum, fever, night sweats and weight loss.

TB is the most lethal infectious disease in the world killing more than 1.5-million people annually, approximating to 4,100 deaths a day worldwide.

Arakas was detained when gardai from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau supported by members of the Special Crime Task Force, Emergency Response Unit and Armed Support Unit raided premises in west Dublin on the morning of April 4.

Arakas was charged on April 6 last and faced his fourth hearing on Wednesday last when he appeared at Cloverhill District Court.

Judge Victor Blake further remanded him in custody to appear again on May 24 next. He has not yet indicated how he will plead to the charge.

At his first hearing, on April 6, a court was told “he made no reply to the charge” and due to the nature of the charge a bail application could only be made in the High Court.

Directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have been sought.

Legal aid was allowed following submissions that he was unemployed and unable to pay a lawyer.

The other two men arrested in connection with this investigation have been released from garda custody without charge. A file is being prepared for the DPP.