Top Garda says jailing ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh blew massive hole in organised crime
In a new TV documentary called The Fall of Bomber Kavanagh, Det Chief Supt Seamus Boland said: ‘I’ve been involved in investigations [into] organised crime for 33 years and Kavanagh is probably one of the most significant convictions I have seen.’
- 08:12, 21 DEC 2022
Jailing Kinahan cartel No2 Thomas “Bomber” Kavanagh was one of the biggest blows to organised crime in the past 30 years, a top garda has revealed.
He was jailed for 21 years by a British court in March after a joint operation between gardai and the UK’s National Crime Agency.
A meticulous investigation spanning eight countries linked him to 23 shipments of cocaine and cannabis smuggled inside heavy machinery.
In a new TV documentary called The Fall of Bomber Kavanagh, Det Chief Supt Seamus Boland said: “I’ve been involved in investigations [into] organised crime for 33 years and Kavanagh is probably one of the most significant convictions I have seen.”
Ironically it was the killing of Kavanagh’s brother-in-law David Byrne at the Regency Hotel that would start a chain of events that would land the gangster behind bars.
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His funeral was turned into an extravagant show of force where Bomber placed himself front and centre after living in exile in the UK for much of the previous 30 years.
Det Chief Supt Boland added: “I think it was obvious to anyone who watched the aftermath of the Regency.
“At Byrne’s funeral, Kavanagh held a very prominent position where a message was clearly being given that he was in charge of the organisation. Our investigations identified Thomas “Bomber” Kavanagh having some very significant meetings.
“Some of the people he was meeting were convicted of serious criminal activity surrounding targeting of people for murder in the course of the Kinahan/Hutch feud.
“So Kavanagh absolutely was a person of critical importance in the course of the Hutch and Kinahan feud.”
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But the major breakthrough from the funeral came when gardai began investigating the background of one innocuous looking businessman who turned up to pay his respects.
He was so far off the Garda radar that he would later be labelled “Mr Nobody”.
But when a raid was staged at a warehouse linked to Declan Brady, officers uncovered an arsenal of guns to be used in feud murders, but also documents that would unravel the cartel’s key drug and weapons smuggling route from Europe to the UK and Ireland.
It would also lead to the four-man cartel cell in the UK running the route which was headed by Kavanagh and which had shipped hundreds of millions worth of cocaine.
While he was finally nailed for his drug trafficking, gardai are in no doubt that Bomber Kavanagh played a key role in the feud also.
Det Chief Supt Boland said: “I was talking to NCA colleagues and telling them it was our assessment Kavanagh and his group being brought to justice could impact on the threat levels and the number of murders in this jurisdiction.
“I don’t think it’s by pure chance in the last number of years the level of organised crime murders has actually dropped dramatically. I think that’s the level of impact that convicting somebody like Thomas Kavanagh who ruled by fear.”
- The Fall of Bomber Kavanagh airs on Virgin One tonight at 9pm.