Gardai quiz ex-IRA thug over Regency attack

NewsBy Alan Sherry
The Regency Hotel
The Regency Hotel

A businessman arrested last week in connection with the Regency Hotel shooting is an ex-Provo who was previously suspected of running a fuel laundering operation.

Gardaí quizzed the man on Monday of last week in connection to the storage of vehicles linked to the shooting. He was released without charge. 

A female associate of the man was arrested earlier this year as part of the Regency investigation, but also released without charge. 

The man, who was involved with the Provisional IRA, is on friendly terms with Gerry ‘the Monk’  Hutch. 

He also has close links to another businessman who is being investigated as part of a gangland money-laundering probe involving several criminal figures in Dublin. 

The man arrested on Monday is the latest republican figure linked to the bloody feud. 

The first mention of dissident republican involvement came less than 24 hours after the Regency shooting, when a man claiming to represent the Continuity IRA contacted the Sunday World to claim responsibility for the attack on behalf of the organisation. 

This newspaper did not publish that claim as it could not be verified. 

However, within hours another CIRA spokesman was denying involvement of the organisation in the attack.

Matters are confused by the fact there are at least two, if not three, groups all claiming to be CIRA – each denying the legitimacy of the other factions. 

The Co. Tyrone man known as Flat Cap – pictured by the Sunday World with a handgun at the Regency shooting – was previously a member of different dissident groups, including Republican Action Against Drugs and the Continuity IRA, but had been booted out.

Flat Cap was also a close pal of Michael Barr, a serving New IRA member who was shot dead in the Sunset House pub in Dublin’s north inner city as part of the feud in April.

Barr’s house was raided by Gardaí as part of the investigation into the Regency murder the week before he was killed and they believe he helped with logistics and involved Flat Cap in the operation. 

A New INLA member from Dublin’s north inner city who served time for explosive offences is suspected of being involved in the murder of Gareth Hutch in May. 

Gardaí raided the INLA’s man’s family home in the hours after Gareth Hutch’s murder, but he had gone on the run and Gardaí are still looking to question him.  

Despite Barr’s suspected involvement in the Regency shooting, the New IRA admitted he was still a serving member at the time of his killing. However, the group disassociated themselves from the Regency killing. 

The situation creates problems for the organisation as they are effectively saying they are not in control of their own members. 

The New INLA has no such headaches as it never made any attempt to hide the fact it is more than willing to work with drug dealers and criminal gangs.  

A well-known drug dealer has been heavily involved with the faction over the previous year. 

His house was raided by Gardaí in connection with New INLA activities in recent weeks and sources say he has travelled out of the country a number of times recently and met up with criminal figures abroad. 

Gardaí investigating the Michael Barr murder seized a firearm and ammunition in Ballymun linked to the INLA faction two months ago as a result of information received during their investigation. 

Gardaí also seized weapons and explosives as part of an investigation into INLA activities in February. 

Former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall saw his home in Cabra raided as part of the Regency investigation, but Gardaí did not arrest him at the time.