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Thursday 19 October 2017

Feud shooting victim's 'new job' post on Facebook may have sealed his fate

The body of Michael Keogh is taken away
The body of Michael Keogh is taken away
Members of the Gardai at the scene of a shooting in an underground car park at Sheridan Court, Dorset Street, Dublin
Gardai at the scene of a shooting in a garage in Sheridan Court, Dorset Street
Michael Keogh

The killers of the latest victim in the bloody Hutch/Kinahan feud found the best time to ambush him through a Facebook post.

It is understood this enabled them to target dad-of-two Michael Keogh on his way to work.

Gardai believe that Keogh (37), who was shot a number of times in the head and body, was targeted in a revenge attack for the murder of Gareth Hutch on May 24 last year, as well the feud murder of Michael Barr a month earlier.

Keogh was not a suspect for either murder, but one of his associates is suspected of being the gunman in the Hutch murder and had "active involvement" in Barr's killing at the Sunset House pub in April 2016.

Keogh had posted on Facebook early on Tuesday morning about starting a new job.

Gardai confirmed last night that they were investigating if this post alerted his killers to the fact he was going to work at 6am yesterday, when he was assassinated in an underground car park.

The chief suspects for the murder of Keogh are the Hutch gang, but the involvement of dissident republicans intent on avenging the murder of Michael Barr has not been ruled out.

"Mr Keogh was a soft target. It looks like he helped his killers with that social media post about his job," a source said last night.

"It is his associate who gardai want to question about those two feud murders, but Mr Keogh may certainly have had some knowledge of them.

"His associate has also been investigated in relation to the feud murder of Eddie Hutch."

Keogh, a father-of-two, had just started a new job in construction.

While not considered a major criminal, he was linked to the so-called 'New INLA' faction, which has aligned with the Kinahan cartel in the capital's deadly feud.

"New job new start hopefully all goes well," Keogh wrote on Facebook on Tuesday morning.

Horror

Keogh, who lived in the Sheridan Court council flats, on Dorset Street, was found in his car beside the flats by a council worker shortly before 10am yesterday.

A car, believed to be the getaway vehicle, was found burnt out on Clonliffe Avenue at 7.30am. A handgun with an attached silencer was discovered inside.

It is believed that Keogh was shot dead shortly before this but an exact time is not known.

The car - a grey Opel Astra with the registration number 12D 16387 - was stolen in the Dublin area in April.

Its number plates had been replaced and were fake.

One of the first people who arrived at the murder scene spoke of his horror after seeing Keogh's body lying in a parked car. The man, an employee of Dublin City Council, said he was the second person to arrive at the scene.

"The window of the car was shattered and he was lying across the front seats of the car," he said.

"There was blood on his chest and he was clutching his car keys in his hands. His hands were on his chest.

"It looked like he must have been putting his keys in the ignition when he was shot."

Keogh was the brother of notorious INLA bomb-maker and Kinahan associate Jonathan Keogh (32), and is suspected of visiting him abroad a number of weeks ago.

The murder victim was thought to have knowledge of the spate of crimes that his younger brother is suspected of.

Gardai have not ruled the possibility that Michael was involved in one or more of five attacks against the cars of Hutch family members over five days last week.

These attacks led to a huge increase in tensions in the feud, which has now claimed 12 lives after the murder of Keogh yesterday morning.

There are now fears of a massive revenge mission from the Kinahan cartel.

The murder is being treated as the first to be carried out by the Hutch gang since the Regency Hotel bloodbath in February, 2016, which escalated the feud.

"The feeling is that the cartel will strike back in a very severe way for this and more murders are expected even within the next few days," a source said.

"The situation is extremely volatile and dangerous."

Bullet

Fears of further violence have not been helped by the fact that Hutch mob criminal James 'Mago' Gately (30) has been released from hospital.

He spent over a fortnight being treated for bullet injuries to his jaw.

Mago was the victim of drive-by shooting at the Topaz petrol station on the Clonshaugh road, off the N32, shortly after 1.30pm on May 10.

Gardai believe that he was targeted by the Kinahan cartel, who have placed him near the top of their hit-list.

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