Nail-gun brute is big player in 'New INLA' and feared enforcer
One of Ireland's most feared criminals was jailed this week for his role in a "depraved and barbaric" assault in which a 53-year old man was nailed to a kitchen floor with a nail-gun.
Gerard Mackin (33) and a 52-year-old associate of his were each given three-year jail sentences at the Special Criminal Court for assaulting the man in Co Limerick in September 2015.
Before being arrested and remanded in custody on those charges last May, Mackin was a senior member of the so-called New INLA gang.
This mob got involved in the deadly Hutch-Kinahan feud and is suspected of carrying out at least one murder on behalf of the Kinahan cartel last year.
However, Mackin is not a suspect for that shooting.
Before his arrest, Mackin was often spotted in the capital with Ballymun criminals and a north inner city dissident Republican who gardai want to question about the murder of Gareth Hutch last May.
In 2014, Mackin's associates caused a major security alert when gardai received intelligence that they planned to steal a number of garda uniforms from a Co Louth station.
When Mackin was refused bail last year in relation to the offence he was convicted of this week, a senior detective told Limerick District Court that the crime related to an attempt to extort money from the victim, who is a member of the Traveller community.
Det David Bourke said Mackin has formed a group involved in the extortion of money from Travellers and has "filled the void left by the demise of the Dundons under the veil of the IRA or INLA dissident groups".
Mackin, who is from west Belfast, has been in a number of serious underworld scrapes since he was cleared of the 2008 murder of Eddie Burns as part of a dissident feud in the North.
Taxi driver Mr Burns (36) was shot dead in west Belfast in March 2007.
Mackin was the first person found guilty in a Dublin court for a murder in Belfast under the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act of 1976.
However, in 2010 the conviction was quashed by Dublin's Court of Criminal Appeal and a retrial ordered, but it collapsed after three days, which meant Mackin was freed.