Jimmy Mansfield Jnr wanted to attend the funeral of murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan when he was shot dead in September 2012, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Instead, the head of security at Citywest Hotel, Martin Byrne claimed under cross examination that he attended the ceremony on his behalf.
He has earlier told the court that Mansfield Jnr was paying €2,500 a week to the Real IRA to protect him from the Wall traveller gang and a family described as the ‘Kavanaghs’ who said they were owed money. Mansfield Jnr is on trial on kidnap charges but denies the offence.
Byrne, who is a protected witness for the State has said that Ryan’s Real IRA sidekick Nathan Kinsella had been a regular visitor to the Mansfield family home, Tasaggart House and used it as a ‘meeting place’ for his business.
In evidence he claimed that he once intervened at a meeting in the Maldron Hotel in Tallaght when a friend of Mansfield Jnr went to meet Ryan and was assaulted by him in a ‘heated exchange.’ Byrne said he stepped in and held Ryan off the individual.
In earlier evidence, Mr Byrne said that James O’Gorman, a convicted fraudster, became involved with Jimmy Mansfield Jnr after his father’s business empire went into receivership with debts of more than €200 million.
O’Gorman, it has been claimed, was employed to find ways of raising finance from remaining Mansfield properties to use in a claw back of key assets that had been taken by the banks.
The Special Criminal Court has heard that O’Gorman had an office in the ground floor of Tasaggart House, the stately home located beside the Citywest Hotel development.
The fraudster known as ‘The Fat Man’ also lived in a converted stables on the grounds of the house during a chaotic period when it is alleged dissident groups were paid by Jimmy Mansfield Jnr to represent him to get back the family wealth.
Kinsella, the court heard, was shot shortly after Ryan’s funeral when he went to ‘meet the Real IRA’. Under cross examination Byrne said that Kinsella was regularly at Tasaggart House.
He said he had disagreements with O’Gorman about Kinsella coming to the house and at one point there was a ‘hit’ on him. Byrne alleges that he acted as a go-between for O’Gorman and Mansfield Jnr with the dissidents in his capacity as head of security.
“Lots of things happened between the Real IRA and the New IRA at Saggart. I had dealings with both of them,” he said.
Byrne was quizzed about statements he has made to the Criminal Assets Bureau in relation to events that happened around Mansfield properties between 2010 and 2015 when the state says Mansfield Jnr handed him over to an INLA terror cell who kidnapped and beat him.
One incident related to claims that Nathan Kinsella assaulted James O’Gorman on New Years Day 2014. The court heard that Byrne was on holidays at the time but received a text from O’Gorman saying that Kinsella had two individuals on hitlist and were going to carry them out.
Kinsella was later convicted and jailed by the Special Criminal Court for IRA membership. Byrne told the court that there was so much switching and changing between the dissident groups that he could barely ‘keep up with them.’
After the death of Jim Mansfield Snr in January 2014, Byrne says two INLA representatives were in place at Tasaggart to represent O’Gorman and Mansfield Jnr. He said convicted INLA member Gareth Byrne was one of the duo. The second was named as Brian McGrath.
“Mr O’Gorman liked having these people around him,” Byrne told the court.
He claimed that Byrne and McGrath were there to ‘help Mansfield Jnr get his property back.’ And he revealed how O’Gorman and other were still living there when the CAB raided the premises in January 2015.
Under cross examination Bernard Condon for Mansfield Jnr had repeatedly put it to Byrne that he is lying in his evidence which he had refuted.
Yesterday the trial heard that Byrne has given 16 statements to the Criminal Assets Bureau centred on events between 2010 and 2015.
Byrne says he told CAB about a number of meetings he claims took place after receivers took over the Mansfield empire.
He had told the court that the late Mansfield Snr used an old friend, Dundalk businessman Kevin McGeogh to buy back some of his former estate using ‘ransom strips’ the receivers needed to ensure a sale of City West.
McGeogh it was claimed got financial backing from Newry builder Gerard McGreevy but he claims that relations between the duo and Mansfield Jnr soured.
In evidence he says he had dealings with the New IRA, the Real IRA and two factions of the INLA on behalf of Mansfield Jnr and James O’Gorman as complex negotiations for the ‘handover’ of Finnstown House Hotel and a site known as Paddy Reilly’s Field turned nasty.
The witness has described the day he was kidnapped by O’Hare, Duffy and five cohorts as the ‘day that changed my family's life and my life forever.’
The trial continues.