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Brazen plot to get drugs into Kinahan controlled jail landing is foiled

It’s understood two inmates in the exercise yard helped a third inmate up to the netting covering the yard and he retrieved the package.

Peadar Keating has assumed the role of top dog among the Kinahan cartel inmates in the prison.

Portlaoise Prison

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

Brazen criminals tried to get a drug shipment into Portlaoise Prison by throwing it over the prison wall into an exercise yard– despite the presence of an army sniper on the prison roof.

Sources confirmed the crude smuggling attempt occurred at the state’s only top security prison on Wednesday evening.

It’s understood two inmates in the exercise yard helped a third inmate up to the netting covering the yard and he retrieved the package.

He was subsequently detained but not before authorities believe he swallowed the package.

He was taken to a close observation unit for round the clock monitoring until such time as he passes the contraband.

The incident is said to have added to ongoing concerns among officers in the prison about the quantity of drugs and phones currently being smuggled into the top security facility.

A source said Kinahan cartel aligned inmates have the A Block of the prison “flooded with phones and drugs” and that Wednesday night’s drug drop was one of many to have occurred in recent months.

“There is a serious situation developing on A block,” the source said.

Portlaoise Prison

In July of last year, we revealed how Peadar Keating had assumed the role of top dog among the Kinahan cartel inmates in the prison.

He was sacked from his job in the kitchen of Portlaoise as jail bosses tried to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the facility.

Insiders say much of the contraband into Portlaoise is suspected to arrive through the prison’s kitchen and is now almost exclusively controlled by cartel-aligned inmates such as Keating and a high-profile dissident inmate.

Keating is doing an 11-year-stretch after admitting in July 2021 to directing the activities of a criminal gang involved in the failed attempt on Hutch associate James ‘Mago’ Gately in 2017.

€30,000 worth of drugs and phones were seized by prison officers in Portlaoise from a tea trolley in the common area of the dissident republican E-Block in April of last year.

Following the seizure, a republican inmate was kicked off E-Block by his paramilitary bosses and later transferred to A-Block.

The seizure confirmed long-held suspicions of dissident involvement in the smuggling of contraband into the prison.

Kinahan cartel inmates are now in control of two blocks in the prison – A and C.

At the top of the pile in A-Block is Lee Canavan and a second cartel killer, who cannot be named as he is before the courts on separate serious charges.

Canavan was jailed for life for the murder of Daithi Douglas in May 2021 and is also a suspect for the brutal Gary Hutch killing in Spain that led to the deadly Hutch-Kinahan feud.

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service this week told the Sunday World that combatting the flow of contraband into Portlaoise and other prisons is a top priority for the service.

“Preventing the access of contraband into prisons continues to be a high priority for the Irish Prison Service,” the spokesperson said.

“70% of prisoners are committed to custody with addiction issues.

“Those with active addiction continue their drug seeking behaviour inside prison notwithstanding the supports that are available to address their addiction.

“Drug free prisons will only be achievable when we have a drug free society.

“The Irish Prison Service has committed to continuing to invest in new technologies to support our efforts to keep contraband out of prisons.

“The Irish Prison Service continues to engage with An Garda Síochana with regard to preventing contraband entering our prison and this happen at both local and national level.

“The Operational Support Group work closely with their colleagues in An Garda Síochana on a regular basis and the sharing of intelligence has led to targeting searching and the seizure of contraband.”

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