Gang of a dozen young men 'next generation' of Kinahan thugs
A group of a dozen young thugs closely associated with members of the Kinahan cartel have been described as "the next generation" of lieutenants in the capital.
The group of 12 young men and teenagers from the south Dublin area are described as being "extremely loyal" to cartel member Liam Byrne.
Byrne (35) is seen as a high-ranking figure in the organised crime gang and is the cousin of cartel associates 'Fat' Freddie Thompson and Liam Roe.
His younger brother David (33) was gunned down at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra, Dublin, in February in a murder linked to the ongoing Hutch/Kinahan feud.
The Herald has learned that gardai are monitoring the activities this "Dirty Dozen", who are seen as the "up-and-coming criminals" in the Dublin 12 area, with members of the gang also described as "young lieutenants" of key Kinahan associates.
At least six of the group, who are all aged in their late teens or early 20s, were present at the Regency Hotel when a five-man hit squad armed with handguns and automatic weapons entered the premises and opened fire.
Sources have revealed how a number of the young men were flown to Las Vegas for a Conor McGregor fight last year, with tens of thousands believed to have been spent on the group trip.
The young criminals were also present at the funeral of David Byrne, which took place in the south inner city in February.
The 'senior' member of the young group, a hood in his early 20s from the Dublin 8 area, was in the company of Liam Roe and Liam Byrne in the immediate aftermath of the Regency Hotel murder.
His car was also among a fleet of vehicles seized in a CAB-led operation earlier this year which targeted the finances of the Kinahan cartel.
Among the items recovered in the €1m seizure were over 30 luxury vehicles, a betting slip worth €38k and a number of expensive watches. Sports memorabilia, including a pair of boots signed by a Liverpool footballer with a personal message made out to a gangland criminal, were also discovered - but it is not believed that they were seized.
Another member of the group is believed to have been left traumatised after seeing David Byrne shot dead.
It has also emerged that half-a-dozen new mopeds were recently bought for the gang by a leading associate of the cartel.
The activities of the young criminals have been closely monitored by local gardai in recent months, with the group regularly subjected to searches. A source explained how more attention has been given to the young thugs since the Regency Hotel murder.
"They were always known in the area for minor offences," the source told the Herald.
"They're a tight-knit group of criminals who are loyal to Liam Byrne. However, when gardai realised that they were present at the Regency Hotel, it became apparent that they were rising up the ranks fairly quickly.
"The fact that they were with the Byrne brothers at an event where Daniel Kinahan was present shows how highly regarded they are by the cartel, and gardai believe they could be the next generation of lieutenants," the source added.
The young gang are also closely associated with another group of drug dealers from the Crumlin area.
The crew, led by a violent 23-year-old criminal, are suspected of being responsible for a litany of shootings and intimidation attacks.
A member of the gang is currently serving a lengthy jail term after being caught in possession of a firearm, while their leader has been described as a particularly violent criminal.
The source said: "These individuals would be very close to the young thugs associated with Liam Byrne.
"The main operator, who is himself only aged in his early 20s, is a particularly violent thug.
"He's been known to assault women over debts owed, and previously bit the ear off an addict over an outstanding payment."