The background Story, of Slimline Johnny, the Johnny Cash of Cork, and the Wife? Well, all has Changed, Johnny will Enjoy, his Spanish Omelettes now?

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Kinahan fixer John Morrissey is ‘man about town’ and was known as ‘Johnny Cash’ in Cork

His restaurant, Annalise, created a stir in the town, where he became known as ‘Johnny Cash’, with everything paid for with wads of bank notes – including the estimated €600,000 refurbishment on his property.

Johnny Morrissey
Johnny Morrissey

Eamon Dillon

Mon 18 Apr 2022 at 10:30

KINAHAN cartel enforcer and fixer John Morrissey, targeted by US sanctions this week, has had a long career in organised crime.

His early reputation as a British gangland hitman is a world away from his recent image as an alcohol brand ambassador on the Costa del Sol.

The Nero drinks firm was sanctioned by US authorities this week and described as being controlled by him, with his wife Nicole cited as a “frontperson for his interests”.

His luxury split-level home on the coast in Spain, dotted with ornate statues, remained empty when the Sunday World team visited this week, after he was outed as a key figure in one the world’s biggest drugs cartels.

Johnny Morrissey's home in Spain
Johnny Morrissey’s home in Spain

Until now, he lived openly in the resort city of Marbella and regularly appeared on social media and local websites enjoying a party lifestyle.

It’s not the first time the veteran mobster has tried to pass himself off as the charming party-loving host, having set up shop in Kinsale, Co. Cork, in the mid-1990s.

Morrissey's Spanish home
Morrissey’s Spanish home

His restaurant, Annalise, created a stir in the town, where he became known as ‘Johnny Cash’, with everything paid for with wads of bank notes – including the estimated €600,000 refurbishment on his property.

Former Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) chief officer Felix McKenna told the Sunday World this week how his love of flouting his money drew their attention to Morrissey.

“He wasn’t shy at all. He was a man about town, he had the spondoolicks in his pocket to flash and he wasn’t afraid of flashing it.”

The Englishman became one of the first targets of the newly-formed CAB after the Bureau discovered he had a serious criminal background outside of Ireland.

John Morrissey
John Morrissey

“His reputation was that he was a hitman for the gangsters in England, more so than in Ireland, that’s one of the reasons he came to Kinsale,” says McKenna.

As far as locals in Kinsale were concerned, he was a charming, sociable man – who frequented the town’s bars and who regularly donated to charity.

The formation of the Criminal Assets Bureau in 1996 dealt a hammer blow to the Irish underworld, and it soon emerged that Morrissey was involved in a bid to intimidate or even kill a prominent Bureau officer.

“There were threats to CAB. He was identified as the orchestrator or the person capable of carrying them out,” said McKenna.

CAB officers searched his properties and seized jewellery as well as an ocean-going rigid dinghy. He left the jurisdiction after the seizures and never came back.

In total, cash worth €130,000 and property worth €500,000 was taken by the Bureau.

Johnny Morrissey at a gun range
Johnny Morrissey at a gun range

Morrissey had also been identified as an associate of George ‘the Penguin’ Mitchell during the Operation Firedamp investigation into the criminal and his gang.

In recent years, Morrissey re-emerged in Spain as a businessman who promoted his wife’s drinks business, often in plush surroundings on the Costa del Sol.

One lavish party in Puerto Banus to launch a vodka brand was attended by a host of Costa del Sol celebrities, including reality TV star Lina Hodgkins and Irish models Cindy Cafolla and Virginia Macari.

He posted photos of his lavish lifestyle on social media, including images of him eating out, on boats and at a shooting range.

Wife Nicole and John Morrissey
Wife Nicole and John Morrissey

Morrissey also published Blood Feud, an online booklet released as part of a campaign by Daniel Kinahan as he planned to step out from the shadows as a boxing fixer.

Blood Feud detailed a bogus theory claiming the Regency Hotel attack was a conspiracy by the media, Gardaí and the Government to kill Kinahan.

Morrissey has been a close friend of Daniel Kinahan’s and was a guest at his Dubai wedding in 2017.

He was also a pal of David ‘Daithí’ Douglas, who was killed on ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson’s orders in 2016, and has been often in the company of armed robber Kevin Lynch.

Morrissey has, until now, remained a step ahead of the law and although the chief suspect for several unsolved murders in the UK, he has avoided serious criminal convictions.

Explaining why Morrissey is on their sanctions, the US Treasury Department stated this week: “John Morrissey has worked for the KOCG for several years, including as an enforcer, and facilitates international drug shipments for the organisation from South America.

“John Morrissey is also involved in money laundering.”

Former CAB boss McKenna said it was “gratifying” to see Morrissey the subject of international efforts to crackdown on organised crime.

“He fell into a group of criminals who left [Ireland] following the formation of CAB and made a lot of money abroad and still make a lot of money in the narcotics business.

“It’s fantastic to see what happened last week in regards to the issuance of the notices by the US authorities. Hopefully, these men are all incarcerated in the forthcoming years and locked away for a long time.”

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