Gerard Hutch believed gardaí ‘going around like headless chickens’ after Regency shooting, court hears

Covert recordings feature murder accused and Jonathan Dowdall talking about Kinahan gang, IRA, politics and celebrities

Gerard Hutch (left), Jonathan Dowdall and Brendan Grehan SC.

The Special Criminal Court has heard a recording of murder accused Gerard ‘The Monk’ Hutch telling ex-Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall that Daniel Kinahan looked to be “in a f***ing heap” based on photographs he had seen in a newspaper after the Regency Hotel attack.

The trial of Mr Hutch has heard that the two men, in conversations captured by a garda bugging device as they allegedly travelled to Northern Ireland to meet republicans on March 7th, 2016, weeks after the fatal attack, also discussed many topics including politics and celebrities.

Transcripts of the recordings, which are are being relied on by the prosecution, have been described as “part of the core” of State’s case in the trial of Mr Hutch (59), last of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin 3, who denies the murder of Kinahan cartel member David Byrne (33) during a boxing weigh-in at the hotel in Dublin 9 on February 5th, 2016.

Dowdall talked about how Sinn Féin would be “stupid” not to go into coalition and that they “can’t sit back and throw their toys out of the pram”. He also said that TD Eoin Ó Broin is “very good”, that “his bird is ur wan Lynn Boylan” and that “he was the one that made a stand”.


Mr Hutch was also recorded saying he liked the singer Imelda May.

“She’s mad as a bleedin’ brush,” Dowdall replied.

The three judges of the court also listened to a recording of Mr Hutch telling Dowdall that the “cops are going around like headless chickens” and that “loads of f**k ups have after been made” in the aftermath of the Byrne murder.

Mr Hutch was heard telling Dowdall that “these three yokes we’re throwin them up to them either way”, in what the prosecution has alleged is a reference to giving the three assault rifles used in the Regency attack to republicans in Northern Ireland.

Mr Hutch can also be heard saying: “There’s a present them three yokes” and that he wanted “to throw them up there to them as a present”. The accused also said he had to “push him” to get “them outta the village”.

The trial has heard it was outlined in a warrant that gardaí believed a Ford Transit van was used to transport the Regency assailants to and from the hotel, that this van was stored at a car park at Buckingham Village in Dublin’s north inner city prior to the murder and that the keys to the van were left with a woman for collection.

Mr Hutch was also recorded saying: “Twelve months time, there’s two RUC men dead there and them things are ballistically traced”.

Dowdall replies: “They’re gonna blame them on the Regency”.

Mr Hutch says that “any smart copper would be saying it’s a joint yoke”.

Dowdall says there is “too much leading back up there”.

The non-jury court also heard Mr Hutch tell Dowdall that Daniel Kinahan “looks in a f***ing heap” from the photographs he had seen in the newspaper. Dowdall tells Mr Hutch that he [Mr Hutch] is “used to the pressure from the cops through the years”.

Mr Hutch says: “I’d be like that if some c*** came running in with an AK-47″ and that if Kinahan wasn’t in “an awful way, ya’d say he’s totally disturbed”.

Dowdall said: “Either way, they’re going to jail, Gerard” and that he saw that morning that Spanish authorities were rushing their case through.

Mr Hutch said “the English are all over them a long time” and “what you read in the papers, they’re not far off”.

The court also heard the two men discuss convicted IRA killer Pearse McAuley, with Mr Hutch telling Dowdall that him and McAuley “go back a bit”. Dowdall tells Mr Hutch that he [Mr Hutch] is “friends” with Pearse and says “Pearse said all along if you ever needed” and “Pearse would ring them and all if you want, Gerard”.

In another clip, the court heard Dowdall talking about the components for a bomb including a detonator. Dowdall said: “you can get a det”, “the electrical pulse that goes into that makes a chemical reaction and that’s what sets it off” and “the det that goes into the plastic, so ya still need my mechanism”.

Mr Hutch said “just a ball of bleedin putty”, “where you get that coil” and “what about the rubber stuff”.

Dowdall said: “It would attack part of the car’s surface, it would take the whole bottom of the car out of it”.

Later in the conversation, Dowdall said the newspapers do not have a “f***in clue about the Regency”. He said: “I don’t think the police know what is being portrayed in the paper but they’re saying we know who the six people are”.

Mr Hutch then said “they don’t know” and that “sure the f***in six people don’t even know” and that “no one f***in knows”. Mr Hutch said that “the people that were there themselves don’t f***in know” and that it was “all speculation” looking at “the snaps” apart from “the man and woman”.

He added: “The cops are going around like headless chickens” and that “loads of f**k ups have after been made”.

The court heard Mr Hutch say in the recording that he was talking to ‘Fish’ and that “Fish probably wouldn’t give a f**k if he was caught with these”. Dowdall said he personally would not go through ‘Fish’.

Mr Hutch says he would be “too hot” even though he has not been stopped and searched in years and that he expects to be pulled and searched when he walks out of his house.

Mr Hutch said he had flown into Dublin Airport and there were two detectives there from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation there. The gardaí asked him to account for his movements and told him they had “boxes to tick here”, he said.

Dowdall also told Mr Hutch about “Patsy’s van - the 131 Ford van” and how gardaí forgot to take the key when they “raided” his “gaff”, saying “this is how stupid they are”. He also tells the accused that Patsy is “better off saying” that he is “always in and out of the village doing carpets”.

The Special Criminal Court trial has already heard that a Ford key seen hanging on a rack in the home of Patrick Hutch Snr, the brother of Gerard Hutch, was not seized by gardaí in error during a first search of the house. Gardaí failed to find the key during a second search two days later.

The court also heard Mr Hutch and Dowdall speaking about a “peaceful process” when they were approaching Lisburn town centre. Mr Hutch said he wanted to “see what these are willing to do” and Dowdall replied “but how can you trust them?”

Dowdall went on to say “I know you bleedin’ trust me” and warned Mr Hutch about getting complacent or relaxed following a peace deal and added it could be “game over for your whole family.”

Mr Hutch replied: “I know, ya have to be careful of these c****, their capabilities”. Dowdall said there’s “too many of them” and that “them Kinahan’s are a big f***ing army.”

Mr Hutch referred to the murder of his brother Eddie ‘Neddy’ Hutch a month before, saying: “The c**** who done Neddy have to f***ing go.”

He referred to them as “just f***ing hitmen” and added that the “shooting has to stop” and that the IRA “would have to be at the meet”. Dowdall said, “they’re c****, they’d give up their ma, they would”. He said it “can’t go on like this...ya can’t live our lives like this”.

Referring to ‘Bomber Kavanagh’, Dowdall said that he was getting “lashed out of it” in the newspaper to which Mr Hutch says “see them all with the bleedin sunglasses” and called it “embarrassing”. Dowdall replies “people that aren’t gangsters”.

Dowdall also says to the accused: “It’s wrong looking at all the Union Jacks in Ireland, Gerard, isn’t it?”.

Mr Hutch replied: “Yeah”.

The pair were heard laughing at one point where Mr Hutch said: “We’re in Lisburn, make sure we’re not in Ashbourne”.

Dowdall tells Mr Hutch that the republicans should have the “height of respect for what you’re offering”.

At one point they are heard discussing politics, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Dowdall says that Sinn Féin “are nearly big enough” and Dowdall talks about how the party would be “stupid” not to go into coalition and that they “can’t sit back and throw their toys out of the pram”.

Mr Hutch said “you have to go with what’s in the best interests of the country, not what’s in the interest of your party”.

Dowdall said “it’s easy for Sinn Féin to sit back like Labour and say that’s wrong”.

Last week, the three judges ruled that they would listen to the 10 hours of conversations between Mr Hutch and Dowdall that were captured by gardaí, despite having heard that Dowdall’s bugged vehicle had been outside the State for the majority of the time of the recordings.

Mr Hutch’s defence lawyer Brendan Grehan SC has submitted that their “core argument” would be that gardaí were aware that Dowdall’s Land Cruiser was outside the jurisdiction for eight of the 10 hours of those recordings from March 7th, 2016 and that the evidence harvested from that “illicit fruit” should be excluded from the trial.

After hearing the recordings, the court will hear full legal argument from counsel on both sides as part of a ‘voir dire’ - a trial within a trial - before the three judges rule on the admissibility of their contents having regard to the issue of where the men were at the time.

The Special Criminal Court has viewed CCTV footage of what the State says is Mr Hutch making two separate journeys to Northern Ireland with Dowdall on February 20th and March 7th, 2016, just weeks after Mr Byrne was murdered.

CCTV footage has been shown to the court of Mr Hutch getting into the front passenger seat of Dowdall’s Land Cruiser at 2.23pm on March 7th at Kealy’s pub in Cloghran on the Swords Road.

Further CCTV footage showed the vehicle at the Maldron Hotel in Belfast at 5.35pm that evening. Another clip showed it returning to Kealy’s car park at 00.15 on March 8th, where Mr Hutch gets out and into a BMW.

The State’s case is that Mr Hutch had asked Dowdall to arrange a meeting with his provisional republican contacts to mediate or resolve the Hutch-Kinahan feud due to the threats against the accused’s family and friends.

Dowdall (44) - a married father of four with an address at Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 - was due to stand trial for Mr Byrne’s murder alongside Mr Hutch but pleaded guilty in advance of the trial to a lesser charge of facilitating the Hutch gang by making a hotel room available ahead of the murder.

Dowdall has been jailed by the Special Criminal Court for four years for facilitating the Hutch gang in the murder of Mr Byrne, who was shot dead when five men, three disguised as armed gardaí in tactical clothing and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, stormed the building during a boxing weigh-in.

Mr Byrne died after suffering catastrophic injuries from six gunshots fired from a high-velocity weapon.

Mr Hutch’s two co-accused - Paul Murphy (59), of Cherry Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin and Jason Bonney (50), of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, Dublin 13 have pleaded not guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of David Byrne by providing access to motor vehicles on February 5th, 2016.

The trial continues on Wednesday.