It may come across as a heartless way to put it given the ferociousness of the gangland murders and the misery for grieving families, but it crudely sums up where we are currently at in the Kinahan-Hutch feud. It also offers an insight into the expectation among experienced detectives as to where it will run.
The murder of Noel Duggan, a close friend of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, in a Meath village on Wednesday is the fourth death linked to the feud.
It follows the murder of Edward Hutch — brother of The Monk — on February 8, which was in retaliation for the shooting dead of Kinahan gang figure David Byrne three days before that. That, in turn, was revenge for the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain last September.
“It’s 3-1 to the Kinahans now,” said an experienced source, “and one thing is clear — there is more to come.”
Officially, gardaí are not yet connecting Mr Duggan’s murder with the Kinahan-Hutch feud, pointing out that the attack only happened on Wednesday night and other motives have to be explored.
Experienced detectives, with knowledge of the feud, strongly suspect it is.
They suspect the Kinahan gang took Mr Duggan’s life because he was a close personal friend of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.
Gardaí are examining the movements and communications of a senior figure in the Kinahan cartel to determine if there is any link to Mr Duggan’s murder.
The 35-year-old, from Dublin’s south inner city, flew into the country on Tuesday.
Several garda sources said Mr Duggan, aged 57, had stepped back from his life of crime, specifically his involvement in the trafficking of illicit cigarettes.
He paid a €2.5m tax settlement with the Criminal Assets Bureau in 2003, which involved the sale of an apartment and retail block owned by him and another criminal in Dublin’s north inner city.
Soon after that, the Cabra man moved with his family to a large four-bedroom detached house in an upmarket estate in Ratoath, Co Meath.
Sources said it was true to say he was not part of the Hutch gang, but said that he did act as a “facilitator” in the import and export trade given his extensive knowledge and contacts.
Gardaí feel that it was his close friendship with Gerry Hutch that was the main reason why the Kinahan gang targeted him.
One experienced source said a senior boss in the Kinahan gang, who is abroad, was now “out of control” and ordering the murder of anyone close to The Monk.
“They are taking off soft targets, associates of Hutch, to send him a message,” he said.
Gardaí have already warned Gerry Hutch his life is in danger. This has not stopped him returning to Ireland at least twice since his brother was murdered.
Edward Hutch was a taxi driver and was not involved in the criminal gang, but like Mr Duggan, was considered a soft target.
The murder of Edward Hutch and Noel Duggan represent two revenge attacks for the shooting dead of senior Kinahan figure David Byrne at the Regency Hotel on February 5.
The number-one target of that attack — which took the form of a paramilitary assault — was Daniel Kinahan, the elder son of cartel boss Christopher Kinahan.
He managed to escape, but Crumlin man Byrne was not so lucky.
The nature of this attack, involving three gunmen dressed as gardaí and brandishing assault rifles, sent shockwaves through both gangland and the police, and horror in wider society.
Gardaí believe that senior bosses in the Kinahan gang decided to target not just the members of the six-man gang — all of whom have been identified — but anyone in the wider gang or the extended family, and their associates.
“The Kinahan gang could well keep going,” said a security source. “It’s not a case of waiting for the Hutchs to take revenge first.”
He said the Hutch gang were “not going to take this either”. “We saw with the Regency what they can pull off. They have the contacts, they have the balls, and they have the wherewithal.”
As previously reported in the Irish Examiner, Garda briefing documents show there are roughly 40 people on each side, in terms of gang members and associates.
The Kinahan cartel is comprised of a large number of gangs, most of them heavily interconnected through family relationships and marriage. It includes at least four gangs in the Crumlin and Drimnagh areas and at least two others in the adjoining south inner city, on the other side of the Grand Canal. Two of the gangs in Crumlin are considered to be in the “upper echelons” of the Kinahan cartel here and were targeted in a Criminal Assets Bureau-led operation on March 9.
That resulted in the seizure of 29 high-powered luxury cars; six high-end motorbikes; some €70,000 in cash; and nine Rolex and Breitling watches, worth up to €100,000.
A couple of days later, gardaí in south central, assisted by CAB, conducted ten searches aimed at “middle- and low-ranking” members of the Kinahan gang in the south inner city. They seized €50,000 in cash and in excess of €20,000 worth of jewellery.
Gardaí said these CAB operations have particularly aggravated the Kinahan gang and fuelled their “lashing out” at their rivals.
Many senior members of the Kinahan cartel were involved in the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud which claimed up to 15 lives directly connected with it and a further three on the fringes between 2000 and 2012.
Some seasoned gardaí and local community workers fear this feud could be in the same vein.