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Sunday 11 December 2016

Gangsters' meeting in Belfast pub sparks fear of feud attack

An armed member of the PSNI
An armed member of the PSNI

Prominent drug dealers from Dublin were in a pub that was the scene of a potential attack over the weekend.

Police in Belfast mounted an extensive security operation on Saturday night amid fears that the deadly Kinahan-Hutch feud would erupt on the streets of Belfast.

A drugs gang linked to the Hutch-Kinahan feud, in which 10 people have so far been killed, held a private function in a north Belfast pub on Saturday night.

Well-known drug dealers from Dublin travelled to Belfast for the function which was also attended by dealers from Belfast.

After a telephone threat was made that an attack would be launched on those attending the party, the PSNI mounted an extensive security operation.

Land Rovers patrolled the area and under-cover police were also present near the venue.

The north Belfast pub had unwittingly accepted the booking for the party after it was made under a false name. The establishment only became suspicious on the evening of the event.

The pub received an anonymous phone call saying that a criminal drugs gang linked to the Kinahan-Hutch feud would be holding a function in their premises that night. The caller said that there would be "an attack on the party".

The establishment immediately contacted the PSNI and warned them of the threat. Doormen at the pub were also put on alert.

Members of a well-known criminal family from west Belfast, who were once associated with the Provisional IRA and later dissident republicans, were also in attendance.

Cartels

Sources said that at the beginning of the evening, it appeared that the PSNI had taken no action and there were fears that an attack could be imminent.

"Then, as the night wore on, a really heavy police presence became visible," the source added. The event passed off without incident.

The Kinahan gang have gained the upper hand on their rivals since the feud began less than a year ago. Based on the Costa del Sol, they are one of the most powerful drug cartels in the world, operating a billion-euro empire.

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