October 25th, 2016

Gallery: Gunned-down thug’s celebrity lifestyle revealed

NewsBy Nicola Tallant

Murdered gangster David Byrne is seen here posing for selfies with his former neighbour, UFC champ Conor McGregor.

Byrne beams for the pictures taken on a mobile phone as he joins a crowd at the National Stadi­um to cheer on boxer Jamie Kavanagh late last year.

As our exclusive pictures show, Byrne was in top form with his pals – the Kinahan brothers Dan­iel and Christopher Jnr and his cousin ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson.

In another photograph, he poses driving a Rolls Royce car – one of hundreds of luxury vehicles the Kinahan gang have brought in and out of the country through their ‘car sales’ business.

It’s November 2015 and the gang are on top of the world, riding a roller coaster of success. They believe they are untouchable, bulletproof and that they have succeeded in building an empire way beyond their dreams.

They have it all – money, power and friends in high places.

For years that empire ran hand-in-hand with boxing – gangland’s favourite sport – and they loved nothing more than mixing with the celebrities from the ring and wooing them to their fabulously equipped MGM gym in Spain, which is fronted by friend Matthew Macklin.

For David Byrne, sharing selfies with McGregor was the ultimate kick.

A month later, in December, the mob travelled to Vegas, where they cheered on their hero McGregor when he became a worldwide success story and the pride of Ireland.

Back home, Jamie Kavanagh was getting ready for his big outing in the National Stadium – the event cancelled following the infamous Regency Hotel shooting.

Eyebrows had been raised that Kavanagh had come back into the Kinahan fold at all given the murder of his father Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh and uncle Paul, both enforcers for the mob who had been accused of pocketing cash.

Jamie had just been signed to MGM and was to be managed by Daniel Kinahan in the months before his dad was gunned down in Harmon’s bar in Marbella. He had understandably taken a step back from the brand and his manager afterwards.

Last April, McGregor, who has no involvement in crime, was in attendance when Jamie carried his uncle’s coffin to a church in Drimnagh as Paul Kavanagh was laid to rest.

But then towards the end of the summer MGM announced they had once again got big plans for Kavanagh and were hoping to headline him in Ireland for the first time in his career.

It seemed that all is fair in love and war, or at the very least that money can buy pretty much anything, even loyalty.

In an interview in the run-up to the Regency weigh-in and his National Stadium fight, Kavanagh told how McGregor was his inspiration and “childhood friend”. He said he had first sparred alongside the megastar at the age of 10 when he first began his amateur career in Dublin’s Crumlin Boxing Gym.

"His fighting skill is brilliant, but I think his mindset in what he does both inside and outside the octagon is inspirational," said Kavanagh.

"The way he dominates his opponents mentally and physically is something that I look up to. Half of the time he has his opponents beaten before they’ve even had the weigh-in."

He said he hoped to receive the same support in Dublin that McGregor had witnessed when he disposed of Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds in Vegas.

"There’s no better bunch to be fighting in front of. I can’t wait to get back over there, the reception I received last time was out of this world. It’s my hometown so that’s where I want to base myself," he said.

"If I’m going to build a following anywhere, Dublin is where it’s going to be.

"Conor is probably the biggest fighter in the world, the Irish people have really taken to him and the support he receives is incredible.

"Having a crowd get behind you can make a hell of a difference, so I’m hoping there’s going to be another big turnout for my fight." 

Crumlin boxing club coach Philip Sutcliffe stated that McGregor and Byrne only had a "club relationship".

"They were in the boxing club together and they would have had a club relationship and then they went different ways and David would have went supporting Conor and watching him do his stuff," Mr Sutcliffe told the Herald.

"I'd say it’s just a selfie. How many of us would get a selfie with Conor McGregor when they get the chance?"