The video footage of the latest execution in Dublin's inner city went viral within hours. It was like a scene from "Love/Hate," the TV series about the violent drug gangs in Dublin.
Except this was real – two hooded figures running up a street to a man getting into a car and pumping bullets into him. And it happened on a lovely, sunny morning just 100 yards from O'Connell Street.
That killing last week brought the number who have died in the current war between two Dublin criminal gangs to more than half a dozen in a few months. Most of it is happening in the north inner city area, just one block behind the capital's historic central avenue which is full of tourists and shoppers. The gardaí (Irish police) seem unable to stop it and local people are living in fear.
The killing last week was similar to the other recent murders in the gangland war, vicious and merciless. What made this different, however, was the CCTV footage of the killing which soon appeared on newspaper websites and elsewhere on the Internet.
Suddenly the mindless thuggery and viciousness of "Love/Hate" no longer seemed like an exaggeration. The reality was just as brutal and banal.
Be warned some may find this footage disturbing:
We have had gang wars in Dublin before, of course, but this one between the Kinahan and Hutch clans, headed by two notorious Irish criminals, is on a different scale.
Christy Kinahan – aka The Dapper Don – lives in a mansion near Marbella in Spain on the Costa del Sol, a long way from St. Teresa's Gardens in Dublin, one of the most deprived, drug-ridden apartment complexes in the city when he was growing up there. He has a criminal record from his younger days but has been too clever to be caught in recent years.
He used one of his terms in prison to study, famously refusing early release so he could complete a degree. He is fluent in Spanish and also speaks Dutch and possibly Russian, all useful to him in the drugs trade.
His operation is now international and deals directly with suppliers in South America and elsewhere. He has accumulated wealth in property and other overseas assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Gerry Hutch – aka The Monk – is the head of the Hutch criminal clan but claims to have gone straight in recent years. From Dublin's inner city where the current war is being fought, he graduated from juvenile crime to highly lucrative heists, including an infamous raid on a cash holding center used by Dublin banks which netted a few million. He made a huge settlement with the tax authorities here some years ago and started a stretch limo business, insisting he was no longer involved in crime.
Whether this is true or not is unclear, but other members of the extended Hutch family in the inner city have been involved in the drugs business and have been in and out of prison. Gerry Hutch himself is currently in hiding outside the country.
The two mobs, with similar working class roots in Dublin, were always uneasy rivals, although up to recently they managed to avoid sustained conflict between them. They even worked together at times. That has now all changed and the much richer and more powerful Kinahan gang seems to be intent on wiping out the Hutch clan's operation and senior members.
The current war began last September with the murder in Spain of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch's nephew Gary, who was then working as part of the Kinahan mob. He was suspected of leaking information to the police which led to a major drugs seizure.
Despite his uncle Gerry making a big payment to the Kinahans to settle the matter, Christy Kinahan took the money and then had Gary Hutch killed anyway. At his funeral in Dublin, his mother told the congregation the Hutch family did not want any retaliation – but some of them had other ideas.
In February came the dramatic attack at a boxing tournament weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Dublin when Hutch associates, two dressed as riot police and carrying AK-47s and one dressed as a woman, shot Kinahan gang enforcer David Byrne. Their main target was one of Christy Kinahan's sons, Daniel, who escaped. (The Kinahans, like the Hutches, are heavily involved in boxing promotion and run a big gym near Marbella.) Dramatic video of this attack also emerged online, making it deeply embarrassing for the gardaí who had no presence at the event.
The Kinahans were outraged at this attack and launched the murder campaign that has continued since then. Given the huge resources they have in comparison with the Hutch clan, it is a very one-sided war.
Three days after the Regency attack, they shot Gerry Hutch's brother Eddie at his home in the inner city. He was a taxi driver who had little involvement in crime in recent times.
Next to die was one of Gerry Hutch's best friends, Noel "Kingsize" Duggan, a well known cigarette smuggler, who was shot near his home north of the city.
After that came the shooting outside a bar on Sheriff Street in the north inner city of a man who was mistaken for a Hutch associate. And then there was the shooting at the Sunset House pub near Croke Park of Michael Barr, a dissident republican and Hutch associate, who is thought to have been one of those who carried out the Regency Hotel attack.
This brings us up to last week's killing of Gareth Hutch, another nephew of The Monk. He knew he was being targeted and the day before he was shot had asked a local politician to help him get alternative accommodation because he thought the council apartment he was in was too exposed. By the time you read this there may be other victims.
One theory is that the assassination campaign by the Kinahans is being directed by Daniel Kinahan, Christy's oldest son who is in his late thirties and is now thought to be running their huge drugs business while his father retires to look after his international property empire. Daniel Kinahan seems intent on making his name a feared one, and on wiping out all opposition in Dublin, which may account for the merciless and relentless nature of what is happening.
And it's all being done by remote control from Spain. The Kinahans don't have to bloody their own hands. There are lots of former republican thugs and desperate small time dealers and addicts ready to carry out contracts for a few thousand dollars, the wiping of drug debts or the offer of free drugs for a year or two.
What happened last Tuesday morning was indicative of the level of those involved. After the shooting the two gunmen could not start their getaway car so they abandoned it and ran away, dropping their weapons as they went.
All of this mayhem has led to calls for the government to do more and for the gardaí to impose blanket policing in the inner city to smother the spree of murders. Last week we even had Sinn Fein in the Dail demanding action, a nauseating sight given the involvement of various kinds of republican thugs in the drugs trade here in recent years.
Expressions of outrage are all well and good, but stopping this is not that easy. There already are armed gardaí and mobile checkpoints in the inner city area. In fact there was an armed checkpoint very close to where last week's shooting took place, but it did not stop the low life crazies who carried it out.
Nevertheless there is much more both the gardaí and the authorities could be doing to get the situation under control. There were two predictable reactions to last week's shooting.
Shamefully, a garda spokesman used it to call for more resources and higher pay for gardaí. That's a different matter and does not stop them dealing with one area in the city, a few blocks that stretch from Sheriff Street near the docks up to the back of O'Connell Street. What they need to do is get on with the job, improve their intelligence gathering and, above all, get out of their cars and re-establish community policing.
The other reaction that was predictable was the call by "community activists" for more resources to be spent in what they call a severely deprived area. They complained about poor social housing, lack of jobs, hopelessness, depression, etc. The inference is that drugs are the inevitable result of what they see as state neglect.
But it's not that simple. First of all, much of the council housing in the area – both apartments and maisonettes (small houses) – is very high standard, the result of the deal done a few decades back between Charlie Haughey and local politician Tony Gregory, whose vote Charlie needed to be taoiseach. The Gregory deal tore down the tenements and rebuilt much of the area.
Secondly, unemployment in Ireland is now coming down fast. The latest figures show it dipping below eight percent, half of what it was a few years ago after the crash.
A far bigger problem is the attitude of too many people in the inner city – and some other places in Ireland – to helping themselves and changing their own lives. Welfare in Ireland is far higher than elsewhere, in the U.K. or the U.S. for example. The pressure to chase a job is largely removed. The sense of entitlement is huge, even among those who have not worked in years.
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In the inner city area in question you see teenagers dressed in expensive trainers and sports gear, you see satellite dishes on all the balconies and roofs, you see lots of cars in the parking areas of the apartment complexes, the pubs are always busy, you hear people talking about going on holiday to the sun, and so on. What you see are lots of people with smart phones.
What you don't see anymore is much real poverty, although there may be dysfunctional families where kids run wild and money is being spent on the wrong things.
Using the "deprivation" excuse for why drug use and gang violence is a problem here is no longer a sufficient explanation for what is really happening. And this is where the authorities – from the government down to local politicians, teachers, social workers, community activists and gardaí – need to rethink their approach.
What is needed is a way of changing attitudes in these areas, a change in mindset to produce responsibility, ambition, pride and self-reliance. What is needed is more push from the authorities, not more handouts.
If you grow up in a local culture in which achieving for yourself rather than demanding things for free is an alien concept, then the easy way will always be the preferred route. If you are unrestricted by a job and have lots of time to hang around, the prospect of getting loads of money from dealing drugs may be attractive, as will be the ability to take drugs and just zone out.
It's not just a question of resources. It's a question of motivating and inspiring people to think and live differently. That's much more difficult for the authorities to manage than just throwing more money at the problem, but it is the long term solution, the only solution.
The pity is that many people in the inner city area where the shootings are happening are already on the right path. But there are far too many who are not.
In the meantime, everyone in the area is living in fear.
Should the Irish government and police be doing more to quash this dangerous feud? Let us know your opinion below.