Judges described his book as “a complex, noir thriller that’s multi-layered and solidly written, with great style and pace”.
The judges, who included booksellers, academics and authors, said his depiction of post-crash Dublin “has a real sense of menace and threat throughout”.
Mr Kerrigan’s novel beat MR Hall’s The Flight, Chris Womersley’s Bereft and NJ Cooper’s Vengeance in Mind.
The veteran journalist is the author of four novels, including Dark Times in the City, which was short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger in 2009.
Sunday Independent columnist Mr Kerrigan, who lives in Dublin, was delighted with his success.
“I am aware of the writers who have previously received the Gold Dagger and I am honoured to have my name on the same page,” he said.
The Rage features Vincent Naylor, a professional thief just out of jail and planning a new robbery, and detective Bob Tidey, investigating the murder of a banker.
When Tidey is tipped off by a retired nun that there is something suspicious happening on her Dublin street, a storm of violence is triggered.
The Rage is described as a masterpiece of suspense, told against the background of a country’s shameful past and its troubled present.
Charles Cumming won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for his novel, A Foreign Country.
The judges said the contemporary spy thriller about the disappearance of the first female head of M16 had a gripping premise.
The association’s John Creasey New Blood Dagger was awarded to American writer Wiley Cash for A Land More Kind Than Home.