herald

Saturday 18 November 2017

Slain cartel victim's prints found in hotel after mobster killing

The murdered dissident republican Michael Barr may have been present during the attack at the Regency Hotel
The murdered dissident republican Michael Barr may have been present during the attack at the Regency Hotel

Fingerprints and other evidence connected to a murdered dissident republican were found by gardai at the Regency Hotel after the gun attack that fuelled the capital's gangland feud.

The Herald has learned that because of this evidence, officers believe that slain Michael Barr was in the Dublin hotel shortly before or during the attack in which key Kinahan cartel figure David Byrne (34) was gunned down last February 5.

Less than three months later, Barr (36) was shot dead in the Sunset House pub in Dublin's north inner city in an attack that is suspected of being ordered by the cartel in revenge for Byrne's murder.

Logistics

"While it might have previously been thought that Barr was just involved in the logistics of the Regency murder, his role seems to have been a lot more than that as he was in that hotel at some stage close to the attack," a senior source told the Herald.

It is not known why the Kinahan cartel identified the Co Tyrone man as a target, but his home at Premier Square in Finglas was raided by gardai investigating the Regency attack only weeks before he was shot dead on the night of last April 25.

Barr was not arrested in that intelligence-led operation but was due to be sentenced at the Special Criminal Court for handling stolen electrical equipment.

He had pleaded guilty to the offence at Finnstown House Hotel on July 18, 2014. A bomb had been found in a car there two months earlier.

Fifteen men were arrested by the PSNI at Barr's funeral in Strabane last May, including three from Dublin.

In October, a Dublin man accused of Barr's murder was returned for trial to the Special Criminal Court.

Eamonn Cumberton (29), of Mountjoy Street, Dublin 7, is charged with the murder. The case is not expected to be heard until next year.

Meanwhile, it emerged this week that one of Barr's closest dissident republican associates is unlikely to ever face trial for his role in the Regency Hotel attack in which two other men were injured.

Disease

Kevin Murray (46), nicknamed 'Flat Cap', was detained at his home in Strabane, Co Tyrone, last September under a European Arrest Warrant issued by authorities here.

However, a court in Belfast heard that his motor neuron disease is irreversible and deteriorating at such a rapid rate that he is unlikely to ever stand trial on charges linked to Byrne's killing.

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