News

Gun death lull as Kinahan mob takes control

Christy Kinahan
Christy Kinahan

Last year saw fewer gang related shootings and murders than any other year in well over a decade.

Sources believe that one of the main reasons for this is the ever growing power of the Christy Kinahan drugs cartel.

There were just six murders linked to gangland activity all year - five of these killings happened in Dublin with the other in Athy, Co Kildare.

Gardai have managed to secure criminal charges in two of these cases with the other four murders remaining the focus of major investigations.

However, the situation is far calmer than in 2006 when there were 27 gun murders, and in 2005 when there were 21.

The vast majority of the gun killings in those years were linked to the drugs trade.

However, the crime landscape in Ireland has now changed, with sources saying the Kinahan cartel - who are responsible for importing the vast bulk of drugs into this country - now "have more power than ever".

"The cartel were operating a decade ago but they had nothing like the power that they have nowadays.

"This meant there were a lot more localised feuds as various groupings fought their own turf wars in different areas of the country.

"However, because of the scale of the Kinahan operations from Spain, they have managed to take a large element of control of the Irish market which means there is much less localised feuding going on now," a senior source explained.

"The Kinahan organisation has also traditionally had a mantra where they say that murders are bad for business because of the heat that they attract from gardai, but this did not stop the cartel having two of their own gang members wiped out this year," the source added.

The Kinahan mob are the chief suspects for sanctioning the murder of Paul Kavanagh (27), who was shot dead in Drumcondra, north Dublin in March as part of an internal dispute in the mob.

A north inner city hitman is the chief suspect in the case but there have been no arrests.

The cartel are also suspected of being behind the gruesome gun murder of another of their former henchmen, Gary Hutch (33), in Spain's Costa-Del-Crime in September.

Hutch became a target for his former associates after they decided he was a garda informer.

The last gun murder of the year happened at 5.45pm on December 30 when drug dealer Darren Kearns (33) was gunned down at Blackhorse Avenue on the capital's northside in front of his wife.

Gardai believe a local gang targeted Kearns because of his involvement in the drugs trade.

The first gun murder of the year was grandfather Eddie Nugent (64) who was shot dead in Walkinstown on February 15. Gardai are following a definite line of enquiry in the case.

Gardai have also made good progress in the case of Alan O'Neill (35) who was shot dead on May 27 at the doorway of a house in the Kiltalown Road area of Tallaght. Three arrests have been made so far in the case.

Ken Foy