Garda armed units are on high alert after the Hutch gang exacted revenge on the Kinahan cartel by shooting dead a low ranking member.
The deceased, Michael Keogh, is closely connected with a cartel hitman who is linked to at least two murders of Hutch associates.
This hitman, a bomb-maker and member of the so-called New INLA, is wanted in relation to the murders of Garreth Hutch in May 2016 and republican gunman Michael Barr in April 2016.
“This is a strike back for the Hutch grouping,” said one garda source.
Another detective said: “It’s a sign that the Hutches are getting their act together after the onslaught the Kinahans carried out last year.”
It’s the second feud death linked to the Hutch grouping and comes 15 months after their first murder, that of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in Dublin.
Since then, the Kinahan cartel shot dead eight people, bringing to ten the total feud deaths linked to them. A number of Hutch associates have also narrowly escaped murder, most recently a senior gang figure in north Dublin last month.
Garda sources said the Hutch gang has tried twice this year to murder the INLA hitman, but failed, and decided to target Mr Keogh.
A source said Mr Keogh, aged 36, was himself involved with the cartel and suspected of organising drug deals and collecting money.
“He was lower down the rank of the cartel,” the source said.
In what is the first feud murder this year, Mr Keogh was shot as he sat in his car in an underground car park at Sheridan Court, Dorset Street, in the north inner city.
Detectives believe his killer shot him twice in the head using a handgun, which had a silencer attached.
Gardaí received a call from Dublin City Council at 7.55am yesterday when they removed a smouldering car from nearby Clonliffe Avenue, Drumcondra and spotted a gun inside.
At around 9.55am, a resident of Sheridan Court discovered the deceased and alerted gardaí who sealed off the scene.
Mr Keogh, similar to the hitman, grew up in the north east inner city, the heartland of the Hutch grouping.
“The Kinahan cartel will not take this lying down,” said a garda source. “We already know how ruthless they are, so they will do anything you can imagine.”
Sources said senior cartel leaders in Crumlin, Drimnagh and the south inner city are “in and out” of the country.
Under Operation Hybrid, with armed patrols and checkpoints - many involving the Armed Support Unit - are running in affected areas.
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