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Mobster exposed Kinahan cartel chief Peadar Keating tried to present himself as 'a community man'

Keating’s conviction and lengthy sentence is considered one of the Garda’s biggest successes in their fight against the international cartel.

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Peadar Keating

Peadar Keating

Peadar Keating

An amateur football manager who went onto become one of the most senior members of the Kinahan cartel had "tried to present himself as a community man", according to sources.

Peadar Keating (40) was yesterday jailed for 11 years for directing a feud murder plot.

He had pleaded guilty to directing the activities of a criminal gang involved in the failed attempt on Hutch associate James ‘Mago’ Gately in 2017.

The murder plot was foiled when Estonian hitman Imre Arakas was arrested and a weapon seized after he travelled to Ireland for the hit.

Following a major investigation by the Garda ‘s Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) it emerged that Keating was one of the main organisers of the plot.

He was previously arrested by the UK police in Dover who were investigating a drug trafficking network during which around €5m in drugs, ammunition and £250,000 were seized.

Keating, of Rowlagh Green in Clondalkin, was also heavily involved with and the manager of his local amateur soccer club Collinstown FC.

A close associate of his, senior cartel figure Sean McGovern from Crumlin, is also under investigation in relation to the Gately plot and is currently in Dubai with mob boss Daniel Kinahan.

Keating’s conviction and lengthy sentence is considered one of the Garda’s biggest successes in their fight against the international cartel.

“He tried to present himself as a community man but he was heavily involved in organised crime and is a key associate of the cartel.

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Sean McGovern

Sean McGovern

Sean McGovern

“Keating ran a criminal network in west Dublin and was also entrusted to oversee this plot to murder one of the Kinahan’s top targets, and his conviction is a major victory for gardaí,” a senior source.

Keating, who was a brother-in-law of murdered Kinahan money launderer Jason Carroll who was shot dead in Clondalkin in 2013, has close links to senior Kinahan cartel figure Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh.

He is currently in prison in the UK as he awaits sentencing over his operation smuggling over €45m worth of cannabis and cocaine.

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Kavanagh ran his operation from his base in Birmingham in England.

Four years ago, the Sunday World exposed Keating’s involvement in organised crime as we revealed he was one of five Irish people arrested by National Crime Agency in Birmingham after Border Force officers seized €5.5m worth of herbal cannabis and cocaine more than 300km away in Dover.

Keating was later released on police bail.

We also revealed at the time how the arrest came just over a month after Keating was arrested by gardai at Dublin Airport in connection with an alleged plot to kill Hutch associate Gately.

Keating was arrested by members of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau after he flew into Dublin on August 27 in 2017.

In court, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that Keating was a "repository of trust and confidence" for the organised crime group.

He pleaded guilty in late June of this year to directing the activities of a criminal organisation between December 7, 2016 and April 6, 2017, within and outside the State.

This involved the "ongoing targeting" of Gately in the context of a feud between the Hutch and Kinahan crime groups.

The judge said that Keating was a "senior figure" for the Kinahan Organised Crime Group, which he described as being a "well-organised, complex, sinister and dangerous organisation".

He said that Keating was a "significant part of the surveillance of James Gately and his family regarding the proposed murder" and that five tracker devices were involved in the plot.

Mr Justice Hunt said that although Keating had ten previous convictions, the offence before the court of directing the activities of a criminal organisation was a "significant step up".

He sentenced Keating to 12 years' imprisonment, suspending the final year for two years. Keating then entered into a bond of €100 to keep the peace for two years. The judge then backdated the sentence to July 1, 2020.

Father-of-three Keating, dressed in a grey top and blue jeans, spoke only at the non-jury court to acknowledge himself bound to the peace for two years upon his release from prison.

The judge said that if Keating had pleaded not guilty and gone to trial, his conviction would have warranted a "full" sentence, which under Section 71 (A) of the Criminal Justice Act carries a maximum jail-term of life imprisonment.

Speaking outside the court after Keating's sentencing, Detective Chief Superintendent Seamus Boland said: "Today's sentencing for Peter, also known as Peadar Keating, for 12 years' imprisonment for directing the activities of an organised crime group within and outside the State is a significant development for An Garda Síochána's strategy to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups participating in violence, which is the scourge of communities."

D/Chief Supt Boland said that "three people have now been convicted of criminal conspiracy to murder an individual [Gately] in Belfast in April 2017, during the course of a well-documented gangland feud between the Kinahan Organised Crime Gang and the Hutch Organised Crime Gang".

"This investigation has also identified the transnational outreach of organised crime, where such groups and people involved in this activity do not recognise law or respect our borders.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our own investigation team and our international partners and in particular, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency and Europol. This investigation is still ongoing," said D/Chief Supt Boland.

At Keating's sentence hearing, Det Sgt Carolan said Gardai contacted the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) who told Gately about the potential, imminent threat to his life. PSNI officers discovered a tracker device on Gately's car and harvested CCTV footage which gardai used to identify Keating and others in the vicinity of Gately's apartment complex on March 28 and 30, six and four days before Arakas's arrival in Ireland.

Gardai then pieced together Keating's movements on those days and found that on March 28 he travelled to a Dublin Airport short term car park to pick up a blue Peugeot that had been brought to Ireland from Holyhead earlier that day. Keating left his own Volkswagen Caddy in the airport car park and drove to Dundalk, Co Louth, where he bought a Garmin satellite navigation (satnav) device. When gardai later seized the device they used it to track Keating's movements.

They found that Keating traveled to Belfast and to College Court, where Gately then lived. CCTV at the apartment complex confirmed that Keating had been there, checking the location of CCTV cameras before getting back into the Peugeot.

On March 30 Keating again drove the Peugeot to Belfast, this time with two other men.

One of the men went into the car park of Gately's apartment complex at about 11:13am and attached a tracker to a Toyota Avensis.

When Gately travelled to Dublin from Belfast later that day Keating was ten minutes behind him on the same road, the detective said.

There was further evidence, the garda said, that following the arrest of Arakas, Keating directed one of his co-accused to clean the Peugeot "from top to bottom to ensure all prints are gone off it." The detective also pointed to Keating's arranging to leave Ireland by ferry after finding out one of his co-accused was arrested at Dublin Airport having arrived from Birmingham on April 6.

Gardai found an image containing serial numbers for five tracker devices on Keating's phone, one of which had been deployed on Gately's partner's car.

The phone also contained Instagram images of Gately consistent with the information sent to Arakas to help him identify his target. There was also a reference to Gately being on holiday in Florida over the Christmas period.

Det Sgt Carolan said Keating has ten previous convictions, mostly for road traffic matters.

His most recent conviction was in 2009 in Benidorm, Spain for a "tumultuous brawl" for which he was fined €900.

The detective agreed with Hugh Hartnett SC, for Keating, that the accused was taking directions from others.

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