Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald yesterday said that heightened policing would “continue this weekend” and told the feuding gangs: “No one is above the law. It may take time, but you will not win.”
Garda intelligence has assessed that the threat level has jumped two stages since December’s murder of Noel Kirwan, a long-time friend of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, at the hands of the Kinahan cartel.
The ratcheting up of threat levels, from moderate to very high or acute, includes intelligence that retaliation from the Hutch grouping was at an advanced stage.
The Kinahan cartel is linked to the murders of up to eight people since the killing of Byrne, from Crumlin, south Dublin, on February 5, 2016.
The eight victims, seven in Ireland and one in Spain, include friends and associates of the Hutch family and two innocent bystanders.
There has been no successful Hutch attack on the cartel since the Regency, but gardaí have received intelligence that one was being planned.
“Stories that the Hutches are in tatters because of the onslaught from the Kinahans are not true,” said one source. “They have the money to get people to do it. They will plan their attack and want to get a group of [the cartel] together.”
Gardaí expect up to 10 members of the top layers of the cartel could attend tomorrow’s events, but do not know whether or not Daniel Kinahan, or perhaps his father, Christy, will risk flying in from abroad.
“They could come in from Spain on Saturday night, avoid the airport and come in over the border,” said one source.
As reported in theearlier in the week, gardaí are set to operate a “low-key” policing presence for the anniversary.
Sources said that they had had the difficult job of “striking a balance” of not having a repeat of the massive security operation for the funeral of Byrne and, at the same time, preventing and disrupting any possible ‘spectacular’ from the Hutch grouping.
As it stands, gardaí are not aware of any special Mass or mention being arranged either in Byrne’s local church, St Agnes in Crumlin, or St Nicholas of Myra Church on Francis St, in the south inner city, where Byrne’s funeral Mass was held.
However, sources said that something could be arranged today. The family are expected to travel to Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross sometime on Sunday to visit the grave.
Gardaí will monitor their movements and their homes discreetly from “a distance”. The highly-visible Armed Support Unit will patrol an “outer cordon”.
No social events are known as of yet but are expected to take place.
Gardaí are also concerned of an attack on associates of the Hutch grouping, reflected in the haul of 15 cartel guns, some loaded, in west Dublin last week.
Yesterday, Ms Fitzgerald described the Regency attack as “an outrage” and said the government reacted very quickly, with resources, legislation, the new armed response unit for Dublin and with “saturation policing”.
She said this heightened security would “continue this weekend and every weekend, as long as it is necessary”. Ms Fitzgerald said the feuding gangs were in a “cycle of revenge and retaliation”, but said the Government was relentless in pursuing them.
“The message from me and the Government is no one is above the law,” she said. “It may take time, but you will not win.”