New INLA gang flee crime summit at Regency Hotel amid surveillance fears
A dangerous new gang that held a crime summit at the Regency Hotel were "spooked" by a garda surveillance team monitoring the meeting.
The criminals met for talks in the car park of the same Drumcondra hotel where gangster David Byrne was shot dead, but a senior member of the mob spotted the undercover garda SUV.
He then looked in the vehicle's back window and saw two undercover officers.
Sources have revealed that after the late-night incident on Saturday, the criminals and some of their female associates fled the scene for Dublin city centre in three vehicles.
Last week, the Herald revealed that up to 20 criminals are now members of the mob – nicknamed the New INLA – which has set up base in Ballymun.
"They clearly do not like the attention that they are getting from gardai and they moved out of there as quickly as they could. They went out socialising in an upmarket city centre club," a source said.
The Regency Hotel was the scene of the most high-profile gangland attack in the history of the State.
On February 5, five gunmen stormed the premises. They included three men armed with AK-47s and disguised as gardai, a young criminal dressed as a woman and an undisguised dissident republican.
Senior Kinahan gangster David Byrne was murdered and two of his pals injured in the shooting spree. That led to the tit-for-tat murders of two of the closest associates of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch – his older brother Eddie and good friend Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan.
However, the New INLA group that met in the hotel are not yet involved in the feud. They are understood to be staying out of it because it is not financially worthwhile.
The gang is closely connected to feared crime figure Gerard Mackin, who was convicted and then cleared of a dissident feud-related murder in the North in 2007.
It is understood that Mackin was at last Saturday's meeting along with a 30-year-old gangland criminal from Ballymun who has more than 80 convictions.
His rap sheet includes convictions for drugs, criminal damage, road traffic and possession of firearms. He has been causing mayhem since he was released from jail over a year ago.
It emerged last month in the High Court that the Regency Hotel has been suffering heavy financial losses since Byrne's murder.
James McGettigan – a director of Regan Development, which trades as the Regency Hotel Group – said in a sworn statement that the hotel had suffered immense reputational damage and loss of business in the weeks following the shooting.
Micheal P O'Higgins SC, counsel for Regan Development, said that the hotel had been closed for several days after the bloodshed.
There had been extensive media coverage of the incident, and many events that had been booked were cancelled.
The hotel is seeking indemnity from its insurer, Aviva, but Mr Justice Robert Haughton said that the matter was not urgent and put the application back to the new law term this month.
Meanwhile, the Herald previously revealed that the New INLA is the focus of increasing garda pressure.
It can also be disclosed that some of its members have been linked to the murder of dissident Republican Vinnie Ryan, who was gunned down in February.
"They are involved in extortion, criminal debt collection and drug dealing, but they are also involved in legitimate businesses - they are making tens of thousands of euro each month," a source said.
"This gang has huge back-up from the North and they are going around like they own the place - and everyone is terrified of them."
They are also linked to a serious criminal from Finglas. He is the chief suspect behind a number of gangland murders and assaults, and was previously arrested in relation to those issues.
Investigations into the mob were stepped up after a bomb and a Glock pistol were seized and a Polish man was arrested when armed gardai searched a vehicle near Mountrath in Co Laois on February 25.
That incident led to the M7 motorway being closed for several hours. Sources said the bust had "led to lives being saved".
The gang's main base is in Ballymun, but they have been operating throughout the country and especially in the capital.