Gardaí are liaising with Spanish police to secure the arrest of crime boss Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch to face charges in connection with the Regency Hotel attack five years ago.
The military-style assault, which resulted in the shooting dead of Kinahan cartel lieutenant David Byrne, escalated the Kinahan-Hutch feud, which has been linked to 18 murders in Ireland and Spain.
The development follows a High Court decision to issue the Garda investigation team with a European Arrest Warrant seeking the apprehension of Hutch by police authorities in the EU.
Hutch, aged 58, fled Ireland after the notorious assault on the north Dublin hotel in February 2016, travelling between countries but he is mostly thought to be resident in Spain.
Gardaí have a close working relationship with Spanish police and are liaising with them to locate and arrest Hutch.
An EAW can only be issued for a person to face charges, following a direction from the DPP.
“This is a major achievement for the investigation team in Ballymun, to secure a direction from the DPP and then get the arrest warrant,” said a senior source.
Another source said that while there were some reports of Hutch living in Turkey as well as Spain in recent years, the “focus” is on Spain.
“It now depends on how long it takes the Spanish to track him down and then if he takes a legal challenge to the warrant," the source said.
The Regency attack, which saw assailants dressed in mock Garda ERU-style uniforms and brandishing AK47 assault rifles, was in retaliation for the murder by the Kinahan cartel in Spain in September 2015 of Gary Hutch, a nephew of The Monk.
Gary Hutch was up until then a senior associate of the cartel but had fallen out with them.
The top target of a five-strong hit squad at the Regency was Daniel Kinahan, described in court as one of the leaders of the cartel.
Also on their radar were cartel lieutenants David Byrne and his brother, Liam Byrne.
But Daniel Kinahan and Liam Byrne managed to escape the gunmen, while David Byrne was shot dead in the hotel foyer, as fans ran for their safety.
No one has been successfully prosecuted for the hotel attack. Another nephew of The Monk, Patrick Hutch Jnr, was put on trial, but the case collapsed two years ago.
Any return and subsequent remand in custody pending trial of The Monk will present gardaí, prison, and court authorities with a major security challenge.