herald

Tuesday 14 August 2018

A violent career criminal who rose through the ranks to become feared enforcer of Kinahan

GERARD 'Hatchet' Kavanagh was a violent career criminal who worked as an enforcer, collecting drug debts for Christy Kinahan.

His life has followed the trajectory of a young, small-time drug dealer in Dublin, to major criminal dead in a pool of his own blood in Spain.

In March of 1996, the then-25-year-old gangster, who is from Mourne Road, Drimnagh, was jailed for four years when he was caught with drugs in a garda operation.

Kavanagh was nabbed with the equivalent of around €4,500 of heroin and cannabis in sting in Brickfield Park, Drimnagh.

He also had the equivalent of around €1,650 in cash on him - a significant sum for someone who was at the time unemployed.

Kavanagh became a major target for gardai as well as IRA vigilantes in the mid-1990s and was put on a hit list by republicans.

As recently as 2012 Kavanagh was still in confrontation with the IRA, when he told the Real IRA mob run by slain Alan Ryan to "f**k off" when asked to pay a tax on his drugs takings.

Drugs

At the time of his 1990s conviction, Kavanagh's defence counsel said that 'Hatchet' was a drug addict and who was forced to work as a courier for gangs.

But the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that he was involved in a chain of drug distribution headed by drug barons.

Detective Eamonn Maloney, speaking to the court, said that Kavanagh was "a major figure in drug supplies in the Crumlin, Drimnagh and Dolphin's Barn areas of Dublin for some time".

Some time after he got out of prison Kavanagh teamed up with Tallaght-based gangster Paul Rice.

Around a year before Kavanagh was caught with heroin, Rice was jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to a bank robbery in which shots were fired.

When the pair got together they became prolific drug bosses, who supplied most of Tallaght and a large area of Drimnagh with drugs.

When he was targeted by anti-drug vigilantes and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) he was forced to flee Ireland.

The CAB had determined that a house which he owned in Tallaght was purchased with the proceedings of crime.

For the last 10 years, Kavanagh has been living in Benalmadena with his wife and two children.

Kavanagh would return to Ireland up to 30 times a year, always in the company of his right-hand man Rice.

His daughter is a star of the show-jumping circuit and his son Jamie is a professional boxer.

He has been pictured in his son's corner during fights.

Kavanagh was also a nephew of Jo Jo Kavanagh, a key member of notorious 'The General' Martin Cahill's gang in the 80s and 90s.

Jo Jo was released from prison in 2004 after serving seven years of a 12-year sentence for abducting former National Irish Bank director Jim Lacey and members of his family at their home in Blackrock, Dublin, in a failed attempt to extort millions from the bank.

However he has since claimed to have given up the life of crime and lives his parent's modest home in Drimnagh, in South Dublin.

hnews@herald.ie

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