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worlds apart Nicola Tallant book extract: The two underworld bosses who built empires on polar opposite philosophies

Gerry 'the Monk' Hutch claimed he hated drugs, while Christy 'Dapper Don' Kinahan embraced the lucrative 'smack' business

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Christy Kinahan

Christy Kinahan

Christy Kinahan

It would be hard to find two more different creatures of the underworld than Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch and Christy ‘Dapper Don’ Kinahan. One had built his entire reputation on being anti-drugs while the other had become the most significant player on the international narcotics scene that Ireland had ever produced.

The Monk insisted he hated all drugs but particularly heroin, a poison that had destroyed his own north inner-city community and the lives of many who had grown up there. Kinahan, on the other hand, had built his foundations on ‘smack’, the term Dubliners used for heroin. But the differences ran deeper than that and, if the truth be told, The Dapper Don was a middle-class misfit who was out of place in Dublin’s traditional criminal underworld.

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Gerry Hutch Picture by Julien Behal

Gerry Hutch Picture by Julien Behal

Gerry Hutch Picture by Julien Behal

Unlike The Monk, Christy Kinahan Snr had never had to worry about where his next meal was coming from. He was an unusual member of gangland’s fraternity, in that he had not been born into either crime or poverty. Instead he had arrived in 1957, six years before The Monk, into the bosom of a respected middle-class family who lived in Cabra. Christy was the only boy and was doted on by his sisters Denise, Maria and Sally Anne. His mother ran a B&B from the family’s generous Edwardian house and their father worked as a taxi driver on a busy city centre rank.

Kinahan reached his twenties before he came to the attention of the gardai. At that point he had got mixed up with a gang of ‘strokers’, including The Monk’s older brother, Eddie, known affectionately as ‘Neddie’, who robbed delivery vans, trucks and warehouses.

While Christy wasn’t much good at the hands-on work, his middle-class accent and dress sense made him useful with cashing stolen cheques or posing as a salesman to unsuspecting business people. He racked up a handful of convictions for burglary, stolen goods and using forged cheques.

Kinahan had tried to settle down with Dublin beauty Jean Boylan in her local authority flat, but he was ambitious on a different level to her and their backgrounds were too different. They split when their boys were young.

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