Heightened security as Regency Hotel murder trials back in court

An Garda Síochána has stepped up patrols in the wake of last week's security alert ahead of today's sentencing of Patrick Dowdall and Jonathan Dowdall, and the trials of two other men
Heightened security as Regency Hotel murder trials back in court

A floral tribute to David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in Dublin shortly after he was killed there in February 2016. Two men are set to be sentenced at the Special Criminal Court on charges related to Mr Byrne's murder. File picture: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

There will be heightened security across Dublin today as prosecutions in relation to the Regency Hotel murder of David Byrne are expected to take a dramatic turn.

Father and son, Patrick and Jonathan Dowdall, from Cabra, are set to be sentenced after they entered a surprise guilty plea last Wednesday to charges of facilitating a criminal organisation in the murder of Byrne at the north Dublin hotel in February 2016.

That development in the Special Criminal Court came as the trials of two other men — Paul Murphy of Cabra Rd and Jason Bonney of Portmarnock — who face similar charges of facilitation, are expected to start, possibly today, as is the trial of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, who is charged with Byrne’s murder.

The murder ignited the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Thursday's security alert

Speculation has mounted since Wednesday on the implications of the guilty plea entered by Jonathan Dowdall, a former Sinn Féin councillor, and his father.

Jonathan Dowdall (above) and his father Patrick entered surprise guilty pleas last week to charges of facilitating a criminal organisation in the murder of David Byrne in 2016. File picture
Jonathan Dowdall (above) and his father Patrick entered surprise guilty pleas last week to charges of facilitating a criminal organisation in the murder of David Byrne in 2016. File picture

The following day, two high-profile figures in the Hutch criminal grouping called to the Dowdall home, on the Navan Road sparking a major security alert

A car from nearby Cabra Garda Station was reportedly at the house in less than a minute, while an armed support unit jeep, which happened to be on Phibsboro Rd, sped the short distance to the scene.

A person in the house rang 999 after the two individuals jumped over waist-high electronic gates, walked up to the door and knocked.

The two men — one a suspect for the Regency attack, the other man a high-profile figure who has served sentences for armed robbery and manslaughter — had fled by the time gardaí arrived. They may have been helped by a third person, the driver of a car.

A couple of hours later, reports were received that the Regency suspect and a separate individual — also a senior Hutch gang figure and a survivor of Kinahan cartel attacks — were spotted in Coolock, north Dublin.

The report contained suggestions that one of them was carrying a bag, though the details were a bit vague.

On foot of a warrant, gardaí searched a house in Coolock, but no bag or suspicious items were recovered.

Gardaí have increased patrols by marked garda vehicles around the Dowdall home and checkpoints in the vicinity, in addition to other locations.

Patrols by two armed support units — one covering the Dublin West Division, where the Dowdall home is, and one covering Dublin North Central — are concentrating on a number of locations. There will also be high levels of security at the Courts of Criminal Justice today and all this week.

Garda sources said there is concern within the organisation at the events and said all appropriate security measures were being taken.

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