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Call to use gangster Liam Byrne's €400k house to help in city war on drugs

Councillor slams property left vacant as Liam Byrne's house seized by CAB fails to sell for €400,000
Armed gardaí and members of the CAB outside Liam Byrne's home Raleigh Square in 2016

Armed gardaí and members of the CAB outside Liam Byrne's home Raleigh Square in 2016

Patrick O'Connell

A PROMINENT Dublin councillor has called on the Criminal Assets Bureau to hand over the €400,000 home it seized from gang boss Liam Byrne for use as a drug recovery house.

Number 2 Raleigh Square in Crumlin, formerly described as "the crown jewel" of feared Byrne's criminal enterprise, has lain empty since it was seized by CAB under Operation Lamp in 2019.

"It would be a hugely powerful symbol to a community this criminal's gang have ravaged with drugs," Cllr Mannix Flynn told the Sunday World.

"I can think of no more fitting use for a property that was acquired and done up with the proceeds of the drugs trade.

"It would be ideal for use as a house where recovering drug addicts could be housed after taking part in recovery courses in the likes of Coolmine or the Rutland Centre."

Although CAB was granted full possession of the fortified three-bedroom house earlier this year, all efforts to sell it have so far failed.

The property, which is located just doors away from the home of Byrne's parents James 'Jaws' and Sadie, has languished on the open market at a price of €400,000 since May.

Queries by the Sunday World to the sales agent as to whether any formal offers have been received for the property have gone unanswered.

Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn.

Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn.

The property had originally been bought for just €250,000 in 2011.

It was registered to Liam's sister Maria Byrne, but her brother lived there and had been paying rent through his car business LS Active Car Sales.

The upgrades to the mobster's home included a panic room, heavily fortified walls and a jacuzzi.

Most of the expensive fixtures and fittings were removed before the property was handed over to the CAB.

At one stage, the house was valued at over €1 million.

Liam Byrne was named by gardaí in court as being at the head of a major criminal organisation - dubbed the 'Byrne Organised Crime Group'.

The gangster's brother David Byrne was shot dead in Dublin's Regency Hotel in February 2016 - a brutal murder that greatly escalated the Kinahan Hutch feud.

Under Operation Lamp, officers targeted €2.7m worth of assets including four homes worth €2m, 29 vehicles (€544,115), six designer watches (€83,750), two rings (€29,970), a bank account containing €36,760 and €34,840 in cash.

As part of their investigations, CAB officials claimed Byrne was at the "very top tier" of organised crime in Ireland.

In submissions to the High Court, CAB outlined his links to Christy 'Dapper Don' Kinahan's cartel.

It claimed: "The target of this investigation is the Liam Byrne Organised Crime Group. This group is aligned to the Kinahan Organised Crime Group and is involved in the importation for sale and supply of controlled drugs into this ­jurisdiction.

"The investigation has uncovered a system of money laundering used by this group to hide the beneficial ownership of the various assets in their possession.

"The main target of this investigation, Liam Byrne, is a close and trusted associate and lieutenant of Daniel Kinahan.

"The KOCG is an international gang involved in the importation and controlled distribution of drugs into this jurisdiction, the UK and mainland Europe. It has bases in Spain, the UK, Netherlands and Dubai.

"Liam Byrne and Sean McGovern are at the very top tier of this group and are regularly spotted in the company of Daniel and [his brother] Christopher Kinahan."

Cllr Flynn previously criticised Dublin City Council for failing to make any use of Sean McGovern's house at 219 Kildare Road, after the Sunday World revealed the council had purchased this property for an undisclosed sum more than 13 months ago.

"Properties of this nature, that were formerly Dublin City Council homes, that were acquired or bought by criminals should be handed back to the council by CAB and put to use for the immediate benefit of the community," Cllr Flynn said.

"The problem we have here, as a State, is we do not have a policy for getting properties seized from gangland criminals back into use.

"These two properties now stand like monuments to this crime gang.

"They don't need to be knocked down.

Raleigh Square from the air. Pic: Sunday World

Raleigh Square from the air. Pic: Sunday World

"They simply need to be put back into use, whether it be for a creche or youth services or for homeless accommodation.

"We simply cannot leave these places lying idle. I was only in the area recently and it was continuously being pointed out to me what these properties are.

"The State has an obligation to follow through on these properties after they are seized.

"It's not good enough to just stick them on the market and leave them lying idle.

"CAB operate on behalf of the State so the council should not be paying them for these properties as it did with Sean McGovern's house - they should be handed back to the council for free.

"And the council should have a policy where it is ready and primed to directly put them back into use."

Asked what use he envisaged Byrne's house could safely be put to, Cllr Flynn said he would ideally like to see it put to a use which directly combated the problems criminals like Byrne have created in their own communities.

Senior Kinahan cartel member Liam Byrne still enjoying high life while living in UK exile

Senior Kinahan cartel member Liam Byrne still enjoying high life while living in UK exile

"We have to be cognisant of the fact these particular dwellings have a history and that there is a threat associated with them … and we have to be mindful of that.

"But that is the case with a large number of properties in the council estate.

"If we turned it into a rehab house where people coming out of addiction could stay, it would make it far less of a target.

"Because it would be being used for the benefit of the community.

"And it would be a very good half-way house for people coming out of addiction services to continue their programme."

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