Bully-boy bodyguard of 'Mr Flashy' faces jail time for vicious assault
Paul Brannigan, the violent enforcer for the notorious drug dealer known as 'Mr Flashy', is facing more time behind bars.
Notorious thug 'Brano' Brannigan will be sentenced in October for assaulting a man, who later died at the scene, outside a St Patrick's Day house party.
Brannigan (27) was centrally involved in the bitter Finglas feud that led to numerous firearms incidents. He is currently serving a nine-month sentence for violent disorder in relation to one of the feud's most infamous events.
However, the gangster, from Ratoath Drive, Finglas, is likely to face much more jail time after he was convicted of two charges of assault causing harm to Jason 'Jay' Saunders at Fassaugh Avenue, Cabra, Dublin, on March 18, 2014.
"Before he was locked up, Brannigan acted as muscle for 'Mr Flashy' - he was almost doing a bodyguard job," a source said last night.
'Brano' has also been the target of a number of sinister graffiti incidents, in which his criminal rivals branded him a "rat" or garda informer, even though he is not.
A Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury was unable to reach a majority verdict on a manslaughter charge after a trial earlier this month.
Brannigan had pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Saunders, two counts of assault causing him harm and production of a golf club during the course of an assault.
The Herald has learned that Brannigan is currently serving his time on the C Wing of Mountjoy Prison.
While there is not a specific threat against him, he is classified as being part of one of at least 10 gangs in the jail who have to be "kept apart at all times", according to prison insiders.
Gardai believe the bully-boy played a central role in the Finglas feud, which despite its intensity did not lead to any murders.
This was mainly because he, and most of the other protagonists, were locked up in the wake of a pub brawl at the The Cardiff Inn, Cardiffsbridge Road, Finglas, on October 19 last year.
His current sentence is directly linked to his role in that incident, in which one of his associates arrived in the pub with a baseball bat.
Brannigan was one of a group which instigated the violence but the rival mob, led by David 'SOS' Mulvey, got the better of Brannigan's crew.
Brannigan's pal, Chris Duggan, swung the bat twice but it fell out of his hands and he was attacked as he tried to escape the premises.
When Mulvey's group squared up to Brannigan's, Duggan tried to leave but he tripped over a stool in the foyer of the pub.
Mulvey's group then launched a sustained attack on him.
Mulvey attempted to hit Duggan with a bar chair and to stamp on him, and later drove his car on to a footpath in an attempt to hit him.
'SOS' is serving two-and-a-half years in jail for the incident.
It inflamed the bitter Finglas feud, at the centre of which is 'Mr Flashy'.
Several firearms have been recovered, while one man has been shot and another had a lucky escape after gunmen burst into his home when he wasn't there.
Shortly after the pub brawl, Hutch gang-linked criminal Glen O'Toole was arrested in the Ashtown area while on his way to murder 'Mr Flashy'.
O'Toole (39) was arrested with a loaded firearm, a silencer, a canister of petrol and a Halloween mask. He was charged in relation to the arrest but died by suicide in prison a week later, after threats from the cartel-linked drugs mob.
Just days after O'Toole's arrest, the 'Mr Flashy' gang was suspected of shooting up the home of an innocent member of the Hutch family in a revenge attack.
There were no further serious reports made to gardai until April, when they investigated four significant firearm finds.
Gardai searched a house linked to a 'Mr Flashy' associate in which they recovered a handgun, ammunition and €10,000 of cocaine.
The man went on the run but has since been arrested and released without charge.
Days later, at least nine shots were fired at a bulletproof window of a house where members of the 'Mr Flashy' mob have stayed.
Four days after that, thugs feuding with 'Mr Flashy' burst into a house in the Mulhuddart area before firing shots through a number of closed doors.
Brannigan's attack on Mr Saunders had nothing to do with the Finglas feud.
Dublin Circuit Court heard witness evidence this week, as well as seeing CCTV footage recording the row at about 7.20am.
A shop worker told the court he went outside after hearing shouts and saw both men, with Brannigan swinging a golf club "aggressively". He didn't see the club make contact with Mr Saunders, but he did see Brannigan headbutt the now-deceased man.
Gardai searched Brannigan's flat and found a golf club broken into three bits and thrown out of a back window.
He initially denied it was the same club but later admitted it was. He told gardai he waved the club to scare Mr Saunders.