Prison officers fear outbreak of violence as caged Kinahan cartel members to be challenged by rivals
The majority of some 79 cartel associates convicted in recent years are locked up in Mountjoy
Prison officers fear an outbreak of violence as caged Kinahan cartel members are set to be challenged by rival factions.
Associates of Daniel Kinahan will also be affected by sanctions placed on the crime lord as their supply of drugs being smuggled into jails will now fall.
The majority of some 79 cartel associates convicted in recent years are locked up in Mountjoy, where they exert their influence over inmates with the narcotics.
In the past two years, the Irish Prison Service’s Operational Support Group has made two major seizures at the lock-up on the northside of the capital.
And it is believed the cartel was behind both attempts to flood Mountjoy Prison with drugs.
But now with US Government sanctions and the freezing of Kinahan assets in the UAE, it is expected their power in jails will wane.
The Prison Officers’ Association’s Deputy General Secretary Jim Mitchell believes that it could lead to violent incidents as rival mobs attempt to step up and fill that void.
And he is concerned that it could lead to their members being injured in dealing with it.
At the POA’s annual conference in Sligo, Mitchell said: “These sanctions will impact the Kinahan gang in prisons, they will not have the same supply as they had before.
“If they do not have the same supply as they had before, then their rivals will find that supply.
“And when they start exerting their influence, then there is going to be a conflict and that will lead to violence and that will lead to our members being caught in the middle.”
He added: “What our experience is of gangs, even before the Kinahan gangs, is that whether a group reduces power, somebody else will step in to fill the void.
“These aren’t democratic organisations. These are organisations that rule by the rule of violence which has the knock on effect of our members having to exercise law and order.
“If that void has to be filled and will be filled by others, it will be done by way of violence.”
Mitchell also insisted that prison officers “will never concede that gangs are in control of prisons” but they do see the power they hold over other inmates.
In 2019, there were 123 assaults on prison officers but that fell to 70 the following year to 70 because of lockdown measures implemented in response to Covid-19.
But the POA says the trend is increasing again and the figure has crept up to 91 in 2021.