Official figures show that 166 inmates from 14 criminal gangs are currently being held in prisons across the Republic of Ireland.
However, prison sources say the reality is that the lines between the various gangs are so blurred that the influence of the Kinahan cartel is so pervasive that the traditional divisions no longer apply.
Five prisons in particular house the majority of the country’s most notorious gangland criminals.
These are Mountjoy, Portlaoise, Wheatfield, Castlerea and Limerick.
Mountjoy and Portlaoise have become the headquarters for criminals linked to the Kinahan faction, while Wheatfield – since the aftermath of the Regency Hotel shooting – has been used as a hideout for the Hutch crew – and especially in recent months for Gerry “the Monk”. ‘Huch.
This comprehensive investigation breaks down the gangs operating in Ireland’s prisons and traces the alliances and enmities that prison officials bravely face and monitor on a daily basis.
Gangsters linked to the Kinahan Cartel are now the undisputed controlling force within the criminal population at Mountjoy Prison.
Assisted by Eastern European forces of Polish cage fighter Leszek Sychulec and a number of the killer’s compatriots – Kinahan gunner Trevor Byrne, gang quartermaster Graham Gardiner, killer Glen and Gary Thompson and former British Army soldier Robert Brown – run the facility’s C-wing.
Other high-profile inmates linked to the cartel include money launderer Graham “the Wig” Whelan and Glenn Holland, who is serving six and a half years for gun and drug possession.
Also among the ranks of the gang behind bars at Mountjoy is Declan “Mr Nobody” Brady, who is being held in the prison’s Progression Unit.
Cartel criminals control the flow of drugs into the prison and were responsible for the largest contraband consignment, being smuggled into an Irish prison in a food truck two years ago.
Criminals associated with drug dealer “Mr. Flashy” are considered the “sub-crew” of the Kinahans in Mountjoy.
These include brothers Scott and Mark Capper.
Scott Capper is considered the right-hand man and a key outside enforcer for the Finglas drug lord, nicknamed “Mr Flashy”.
Sources said this week that the 27-year-old, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last July for stealing a €50,000 cash box from a security guard, associates freely with Kinahan inmates, who treat him as one of them.
The same goes for his brother Mark, who, despite retiring two days before the planned hit on Gerry Hutch’s brother Patsy, got a pass from the cartel, according to sources.
The Indo Daily Select: Locked Up – Nicola Tallant on the downfall of Britain’s Kinahan ‘Captain’ Thomas ‘Bomber Kavanagh’.
Mountjoy is also home to Limerick criminals Wayne and Dessie Dundon, who are placed under protection in the B Division.
Despite being quarantined, convicted murderer Wayne is suspected by prison officials of being responsible for the large-scale smuggling of contraband phones into the prison.
Brother Dessie – who hopes to be transferred to an open prison in the near future – works as a land cleaner on “B”.
Two members of the notorious Wilson clan are also imprisoned in Mountjoy.
Hitman Keith Wilson served 12 years in the ‘Joy for the August 2010 murder of Real IRA member Daniel Gaynor. He is now housed in Mountjoy’s Progression Unit.
Nephew Luke Wilson is serving 11 years in prison – and two more for assaulting a prison officer – for his involvement in the botched plot to assassinate Kinahan cartel target Gary Hanley in 2017.
Castlerea Prison is currently the home of the criminal dubbed “The West’s Mr Big” by prison officials.
This man cannot be named at this time as he stands trial on serious charges related to gangland crime.
Sources said the criminal, who is in the A wing of the prison, controls drug trafficking in Sligo and the surrounding counties.
He has forged strong alliances with the Maguire faction in Drogheda, Dublin drug lord Mr Big and the Limerick gangs.
Earlier this week, a phone was found in the possession of a man the drug lord shares a cell with.
According to sources, it is believed that the phone belonged to him.
Limerick bat Nathan Killeen is housed on the A2 landing and is believed to be close to Sligo’s kingpin.
Killeen is serving a life sentence for his role in the 2009 murder of businessman Roy Collins on the orders of crime boss Wayne Dundon.
His compatriot and killer, Anthony ‘Noddy’ McCarthy, is being held at the Grove in Castlerea.
He was sentenced to 19 years in prison for his involvement in the notorious murder of rival mob boss Kieran Keane, which sparked a decades-long gang feud in the city.
The prison also has a Kinahan presence in the form of hitman Caolan Smyth – who was transferred there from Cork last month to serve his 20-year sentence for the attempted murder of James ‘Mago’ Gately.
The state’s only maximum-security prison, which traditionally housed Republican inmates, is now also used to house cartel criminals and border crime gangs.
Portlaoise’s Kinahan inmates are housed in A Block and C Block. The most senior figures of the Kinahan cartel in the A block are Lee Canavan, who was sentenced to life in prison for the May 2021 murder of Daithi Douglas and is also a suspect in the brutal murder of Gary Hutch in Spain, and a second cartel killer who this cannot be named as he is currently on trial on various serious charges.
Garda killer Aaron Brady, who is under the protection of cartel inmates, is also imprisoned in A Block.
The block is also used to house bandit brothers Stephen, Gerard and Ciaran Duffy, who are serving sentences related to ATM robberies along the border.
On C-Block, the cartel’s associates include Peadar Keating and David Duffy.
Keating is one of the oldest members of the Kinahan mob to be imprisoned.
He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for directing the failed 2017 assassination attempt of Hutch employee James “Mago” Gately.
The plan was foiled when Estonian hitman Imre Arakas was arrested and a gun confiscated after traveling to Ireland for the “hit”.
David Duffy, meanwhile, is serving five years for his role in the plot to kill Gately.
He booked flights for Arakas to Ireland.
C-Block is also home to disgraced Playboy millionaire Jim Mansfield.
Despite being investigated by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in connection with a $4.5 million payment from the Kinahan cartel, Mansfield Jnr is not under threat and is mingling freely on the block.
Mansfield, 54, of Tassagart House, Garters Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin, is currently serving an 18-month sentence for ordering the destruction of CCTV footage showing him with former employee Martin Byrne that morning , where he was kidnapped by Republican terrorists Dessie O’Hare and Declan ‘Whacker’ Duffy.
E-Block is home to Republican inmates and is now suspected to be the route through which bootleg drugs and phones enter the prison.
Last month Republican prisoners evicted a longtime inmate – who is serving a long sentence related to explosives – from the block after they accused him of bringing in a shipment of drugs and phones found in a grocery truck .
Drugs continue to flow into Limerick Prison, where the prison blocks are divided according to traditional standards to this day.
A-Wing is home to Kenneth Collopy, who is serving a life sentence for shooting and shooting innocent carpenter Daniel Fitzgerald in December 2009.
Collopy is now the only senior member of the Collopy faction left behind bars, although Tony Collopy – the son of heroin dealer Kieran Collopy – joined him in November when the younger man was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for killing a man during a Tasered a row of drunks.
The B wing houses the remnants of the McCarthy-Dundon gang alongside other prisoners, while the C wing is mixed.
According to sources, the flow of drugs into the prison is still being controlled by criminals linked to the Collopy, McCarthy-Dundon and Keane factions. But the Collopys are ‘top dogs’ when it comes to smuggling contraband into the facility.
The main route for drugs into prison is through new inmates – who, sources say, are “fed like turkeys” before appearing in court, where they know they will be locked up.
“The situation in Limerick is very fluid and although not all of the individual groups can be categorized into one camp or the other, the old gangs at the top are still very active.”
After the outbreak of the bloodiest gang feud ever between the Hutch and Kinahan crime groups, it was decided to house all Hutch-connected criminals at Wheatfield Prison to isolate them and protect them from the cartel’s long reach.
Alan Hutch – who was serving a sentence for threatening to kill three Gardaí – was transferred from Mountjoy’s training session to Wheatfield, where relative Derek “Del Boy” Hutch was already serving a sentence for manslaughter.
Both have now served their sentences unscathed.
Convicted torturer Jonathan Dowdall – who is charged separately in the Special Criminal Court in the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel – has also completed his sentence on false imprisonment and death threats, as has his father Patrick, who is now charged with aiding and abetting the Regency’s murder.
In her place, the prison now houses Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, the cartel’s number one target throughout the feud.
Hutch, who was extradited to Ireland from Spain last year, is being held on the G3 Landing of prison where it is believed he will serve a life sentence if convicted of David Byrne’s murder – unless he secures himself permission to serve the sentence in Spain.
In recent years, Midlands Prison has increasingly been used to house sex offenders – while more fugitive inmates have either been sent to the state’s other prisons or have served their time.
There are only a few left and these are mainly from Limerick.
One of the last of the so-called Big Hitters, the “Fat”, John McCarthy, was released last August after serving 14 years for heroin possession.
He left David “Frog Eye” Stanners and Christie “Smokie” Costelloe in prison, both of whom were serving life sentences for the murder of Kieran Keane.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/special-investigation-how-irelands-most-dangerous-gangsters-still-rule-roost-behind-bars-41630725.html Special Investigation: How Ireland’s most dangerous gangsters still live behind bars