Top Garda warns new gangsters are trying to seize control of Ireland’s underworld as Kinahans lose grip
At least five new feuds have erupted in Drogheda, Blanchardstown, Coolock, Longford and Sligo – with innocent citizens caught in the crossfire
There’s a new breed of volatile young criminal battling for a slice of Ireland’s drugs trade in a market previously dominated by the Kinahan cartel.
Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Siochana Pat Leahy said their out-of-control behaviour is putting innocent lives at risk.
He added: “You’re talking about criminals, you’re talking about drugs – a lot of them are taking their own product.
“In terms of suspicion and paranoia – this is part and parcel of this type of business. So many things go wrong and suspicions are raised.
“People become fearful for their own safety and the way they deal with that is they end up killing the person they feel is out to get them.
“There’s a trend in this. Look at the age of all the people who have died associated with this.
“There is no long lifespan in the drugs industry for sure. If you’re going to get into it you need to know that.
“At the end of the day there is no doubt you will come to a bad end.”
At least five new feuds have erupted in Drogheda, Blanchardstown, Coolock, Longford and Sligo – with innocent citizens caught in the crossfire.
The killings were initially sparked by the murder of Kinahan gang member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel, Dublin, in February 2016 by a killer from the Hutch cartel.
Video shows horrific aftermath of Dublin Regency Hotel shooting
In August, 29-year-old Keith Branigan was gunned down in broad daylight as he worked on decking in a caravan park at Clogherhead, Co Louth.
Children were playing nearby and stray bullets hit two parked cars, one of them belonging to a pregnant woman.
In May, 22-year-old Dubliner Sean Little was the first of three men to be shot dead in the space of a week of bloody violence.
His body was found beside his car, which had been set on fire, on a road near Balbriggan in north Co Dublin.
Less than 24 hours later Jordan Davis, also 22, was killed in a gun attack as he pushed his four-month-old baby in a buggy close to his home in Darndale, North Dublin.
A man is before the courts in relation to the shooting.
Just days later Iranian hitman Hamid Sanambar, 41, was shot dead outside the Little family home in Kilmore, in the north of the capital, as he called to pay his respects.
Shots have been fired in broad daylight in Corduff, West Dublin, where one school was forced into lockdown after gunmen chased a target into the school grounds.
A documentary on Virgin Media One this week looks at the power vacuum left by the Kinahan cartel who are no longer in a position to protect their associates.
footage shows gangland murder victim Hamid Sanambar at scene where Sean Little was shot dead last week Credit: Virgin Media News
Around 40 key members of the terror gang are now in prison either serving a sentence or facing charges, with many more having fled the country.
Garda chief Leahy warned recreational drug users they were fuelling the bloody violence on our streets.
He said: “Anybody who’s going out on a Friday or Saturday night taking cocaine, they’re part of the drugs trade – that’s the reality of it.
“So they can’t absolve themselves of a great responsibility around all of this and I hope they don’t. I hope that at some stage they’ll have some sleepless nights when they’re thinking about how they’re contributing to the misery as a consequence of the collective actions of people that are sponsoring the drugs trade.
“These are people we meet and we sit beside in work every day. There’s the market.
“It’s not the people you see ravaged on the street, they are a very small part of the market.”
Jean O’Connor, whose son and brother-in-law were killed in gangland feuds, reveals the devastation visited upon her family.
In 2014 her son Eoin and his pal Anthony Keegan were lured to their deaths and their bodies dumped on a remote lake island in Co Cavan.
Gardai believe they were minor players tasked with debt collecting for a drugs gang. Two suspects for the murders were quickly identified but fled to South Africa.
Jean said: “He was a very good son to me. I died inside that day, shocked, you couldn’t explain it. It turned out it was them, left, discarded, who does that? They’re not human beings to do that. Just discarded, they meant nothing to them.”
In December 2016 Noel Kirwan – who was Jean’s brother-in-law – was shot dead as he sat in a car in Clondalkin, South Dublin.
The 62-year-old was a long-time friend of Gerry Hutch but had no links to the Kinahan-Hutch feud.
Gardai believe he was executed to lure The Monk out of hiding.
Jean added: “Noel was a great help to me when Eoin was missing and was murdered. I relied on him, he was such a good friend to me. “He wasn’t involved in any criminal gang, he was murdered because some people said he was to be murdered.”
Gardai are more than halfway through a five-year plan to close down the Kinahan cartel – and they’re not finished yet.
Mr Leahy added: “In terms of them being dismantled, we’re not quite there yet and if we were to take our foot off the pedal I think we would regret it.”
- Inside Ireland’s Gangland: The Next Generation is on Virgin Media One on Wednesday at 9pm