Jonathan Dowdall protests isolation in prison and wants to mix with other inmates
Sources say authorities aren’t taking any chances when it comes to Dowdall
State witness Jonathan Dowdall has demanded to know why he isn’t allowed to mix with the prison population.
The Mirror has learned that Dowdall has protested the fact that he is locked down and isolated on a landing in Limerick Prison – despite the threat to his life.
Sources say Dowdall made his feelings known to authorities in the Irish Prison Service that he was not happy with the fact that he cannot mix with any of the prison population.
“He said he wanted to be able to mix with the main prison population, and he said he doesn’t understand why he isn’t able to,” a source said.
Dowdall has protested his isolation in spite of the fact that his conditions within Limerick Prison are almost completely unprecedented – in that he is effectively alone on a tiny corridor landing for his own safety.
He has only his father Patrick — who is serving a two-year sentence in a cell next to him, and who is also isolated from the rest of the prison population.
But sources say authorities aren’t taking any chances when it comes to Dowdall – who is effectively the most high-profile prisoner in the system.
“This is someone who now potentially has enemies around every corner,” a source said.
“No risks can be taken when it comes to him.”
The former Sinn Fein councillor, who is now serving a four-year sentence for his role in facilitating the murder of Kinahan cartel associate David Byrne, is soon set to take the witness stand in the case against Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.
Hutch, 59, who is charged with the murder of Byrne, 34, at Dublin’s Regency Hotel on February 5, 2016, is about to face the fourth week of his ongoing trial at the Special Criminal Court.
According to the prosecution in the case, Dowdall has made several allegations about his alleged interactions with Mr Hutch in the days following the Regency Hotel attack.
In opening the State’s case against Gerry Hutch earlier last month, Sean Gillane SC stated that it will be alleged that The Monk had a
conversation with Dowdall in which he allegedly stated he was one of the team that shot David Byrne.
After outlining at length CCTV evidence and the basic facts of the case, Mr Gillane told the court that it is alleged that Hutch “contacted Jonathan Dowdall and arranged to meet him” in a park in the Whitehall area of Dublin, in the days following the killing of Byrne.
The alleged meeting was arranged following the publication of a photo in the Sunday World newspaper of a gunman in drag and another gunman in a flat cap running from the Regency Hotel.
The State alleges that Dowdall drove to meet Mr Hutch at the park and in the course of their discussion Mr Hutch was described as being “worked up” and “edgy” as they discussed the photo that had been published.
Mr Gillane went on to say that it is alleged that “in the course of that discussion he (Hutch) said they carried out a murder and that he had been one of the team that shot David Byrne in the Regency.”
Mr Hutch is further alleged to have asked Dowdall to arrange a meeting with his republican contacts because of the escalation of the feud and threats to his friends and family. Dowdall is alleged to have driven Mr Hutch to Northern Ireland on February 20 – and again met with The Monk in a car park near the airport and drove him to the North for a meeting in Strabane.
At this stage the vehicle they were travelling in was the subject of a “surveillance operation” the court heard.
Mr Gillane said that the court will hear that during the course of that journey and the return journey, conversations between Dowdall and Mr Hutch were “captured and recorded” by investigating gardai.
“Many topics” were discussed, but in particular the events of the Regency Hotel and other “related matters” were brought up, Mr Gillane said – including the existence of a feud with the Kinahan group.
Recent personal history was allegedly discussed at length, as was a discussion about an effort to bring about a “ceasefire” and “mediation” in the ongoing feud.
Dowdall’s trial already heard that he was being considered for the witness protection programme – and that following his sentence he would likely need to relocate to another country for his own safety.