Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch's friend shot dead as Dublin gang war escalates
A gangster who was the closest friend of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch was gunned down in Co Meath in an escalation of the feud between two of Ireland's most powerful crime gangs.
Noel Duggan (58) was shot several times as he sat in a car outside his home in Ratoath at around 8pm last night.
Early reports suggested that at least one gunman, who was driven off in a getaway car, was involved. Two cars were later found burning.
Paramedics and gardai rushed to the scene but could not save the grandfather's life. The murder is directly linked to the feud between the Hutch and Kinahan crime clans, which has now claimed four lives and which was sparked by the murder of Monk's nephew, Gary Hutch, in Spain last year. Sources said Duggan was singled out because of his friendship with Hutch, whose life is also under threat. The murdered man was a career criminal who at one time was Ireland's biggest cigarette smuggler, earning him the nickname 'Mr Kingsize'.
He had only returned to Ireland in recent days after spending time in England.
Relatives of the dead man arrived at the scene of the shooting. Visibly distressed, family members could be seen relaying the tragic news over the phone.
The Garda Emergency Response Unit cordoned off the scene. The car where the dead man lay was covered but the driver's door was open.
Residents gathered in the estate and expressed their shock at the incident. Damien O'Reilly, a Fianna Fail councillor said: "The community is shocked by this murder. We are shocked that inner-city gang violence appears to have spread to this suburban area of Co Meath.
"It's appalling that a life has been taken in this way. This is a quiet village with a well-settled community which has the second-highest proportion in Ireland of professional people. It's terrible. The shooting took place in an estate which has a large amount of children."
The murder of Gary Hutch resulted in the gun attack at a boxing weigh-in in Dublin last month, when five hitmen, including one reputed to be from Northern Ireland, stormed the building and killed Kinahan mob member David Byrne.
Three days later, the Kinahan gang retaliated by murdering Gerry Hutch's older brother Eddie Hutch, an innocent victim.