'I won't go down without a fight' - defiant 'Mago'
The feared gangster who survived a botched murder attempt by a professional cartel hit-team has vowed that the capital's gangland feud will continue.
Speaking from his hospital bed with a bullet lodged in his jaw, James 'Mago' Gately (30) told gardai: "I am not going down without a fight."
His defiant vow has led to an increase in tensions in the city, amid fears that his associates in the Hutch mob may hit back against their bitter enemies with a revenge bomb attack.
Shortly after 'Mago' made the sinister warning, surgeons in Beaumont Hospital removed a bullet from his jaw in a delicate procedure.
Gately is now expected to make a good recovery, but sources say his associates are primed for revenge.
The bullet that was removed from the gangster was one of five fired into him from a high- powered handgun and went from his neck into his jaw.
The other four hit his bullet- proof vest in the drive-by shooting at the Topaz petrol station on the N32 in Ballymun shortly after 1.30pm on Wednesday.
New details have also emerged about the attempted murder of Gately, who has been warned around a dozen times in the past year that his life was under threat.
Mago's would-be assassins calmly drove into the garage in a black Lexus car bearing an 08-D registration plate, wearing pulled-up hoodies and sunglasses. They identified their target and fired multiple shots before escaping on the M1 motorway and ditching the Lexus near Ardee, Co Louth.
The Herald revealed yesterday that the hit-team had been carrying out surveillance on Gately's partner in her Coolock home. However, it can now be disclosed that they had also been following 'Mago' for a number of days.
The gunmen have not yet been identified but sources say they were "not amateurs".
"They were so calm in how they went about this and when they drove away on the M1, they barely even broke the speed limit so as not to attract attention to themselves," one source said.
"Gardai are in no doubt that this attempted murder was organised by the Kinahan cartel.
"Everything was so professional except the fact that their victim was not killed. There is an expectation that they will go after him again."
However, the main fear now is that Mago's associates may strike back first, which has led to an increase in armed garda patrols on both sides of the Liffey.
Gately is the criminal who warned gardai last year that the deadly feud would not be over until gang boss Daniel Kinahan was shot dead.
Daniel Kinahan, the son of cartel boss Christy Kinahan, was the chief target of the Regency gun attack last year but escaped from the hotel unharmed. However, his close associate, David Byrne (33), was shot dead.
"We will not rest until Daniel Kinahan is dead. He caused all of this - it won't end until he's in his grave," Gately warned detectives when they visited his Coolock home in the aftermath of the Regency attack.
The cartel accused him of being one of the three men dressed as ERU officers during the Regency attack, but he was never charged with any offence connected to the shooting by gardai.
Gately, who is a distant cousin of the late Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, is understood to have once been on very friendly terms with Daniel Kinahan through his life-long friendship with Gary Hutch who was murdered in a double-cross in September, 2014.
The slaying led Gately to split from his former associates in the cartel.
He has been a close associate of the Hutch clan since he was a child and was photographed carrying the coffin of Gary Hutch.
In the aftermath of his death, sources revealed that Gately refused to attend meetings the cartel tried to organise with him because he was "disgusted and heartbroken" about what had happened to his pal.
Gately has barely any serious convictions but has been arrested in relation to a number of murders and armed robberies.