Secret recording | 

Jonathan Dowdall claimed Mary Lou McDonald used Hutch family for ‘money and votes’, trial told

Dowdall also criticised Ms McDonald for not going to the funeral of Gerry 'The Monk’ Hutch's brother

Hutch and Dowdall's conversation was bugged

Andrew Phelan and Alison O'RiordanIndependent.ie

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall was secretly recorded claiming the party leader Mary Lou McDonald used the Hutch family for money and votes, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Dowdall criticised Ms McDonald for not going to the funeral of the brother of murder accused Gerry 'The Monk’ Hutch and "branding everybody as scumbags”.

Dowdall was speaking to Mr Hutch in a conversation that was bugged by gardaí and played before the Special Criminal Court.

Mr Hutch, who is on trial for the Regency murder, said a ceasefire and mediation with the Kinahans was the best option to avoid "war" with the rival gang. He said otherwise there would be "casualties on both sides".

On the surveillance recording that was being played to the court today, Dowdall told Mr Hutch: "Gerard I'm in this with you to the bleedin' death."

Dowdall criticised Ms McDonald for not attending the funeral of Mr Hutch’s brother Edward, who was shot dead.

He said: “She was on the telly the night Neddy got shot and she branded everybody as scumbags.

“She should have turned around and said I know that deceased man and I know that family.”

Gerry Hutch

Edward "Neddy" Hutch, a brother of Gerard Hutch was shot dead on February 8, 2016.

It would be different if she was not a politician from the area but she was, “yous are in her area and she should have said it”.

“Neddy’s funeral, she should have went to it,” he said.

“None of them were at it,” Mr Hutch said.

“She has amnesty from anything like that,” Dowdall said. “She stayed away from that funeral on purpose.”

“But yous were good enough Gerard to use for votes, yous were good enough to use for money,” he said.

She could have come out and said “I know that man", he continued.

He said Neddy was innocent and she should have come out and said that, and that it was untrue that Gerard Hutch was involved in selling drugs.

Mr Hutch said “they were staying away from dodgy subjects at the time” including the Special Criminal Court.

Dowdall said she was sticking her head in the sand and it would come back to bite her.

He said Ms McDonald had “no reason to stand up and slate Pearse” and say his sentence was not long enough.

Pearse McAuley, a convicted garda killer and former IRA member, was sentenced in 2015 for an assault on his wife.

Martin Ferris had apologised for collecting McAuley from prison earlier, Dowdall continued.

“That was a very f**king stupid thing she did,” he said, referring to Ms McDonald.

Increased security outsise court as Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch is on trial. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Earlier the court heard Mr Hutch tell Dowdall the “three yokes”, allegedly referring to the guns used in the attack, had made a “massive statement”.

Dowdall was driving Mr Hutch to Northern Ireland for an alleged meeting with republicans in the aftermath of the shooting of David Byrne when their conversation was recorded by a garda audio device.

The non-jury court continued to hear the recording today in the trial of Mr Hutch and two other two other men over the gangland killing.

Mr Hutch is on trial charged with murdering David Byrne who was shot dead at the Regency on February 5, 2016.

Two other men, Jason Bonney and Paul Murphy, are accused of helping the criminal organisation responsible by providing cars used to drive the assailants away after the shooting.

Mr Byrne (33), a Kinahan gang member, was killed when three assault rifle-wielding masked raiders, disguised as ERU gardaí, stormed the Regency in north Dublin along with a gunman dressed as a woman in a blonde wig, and another armed man in a flat cap.

The attack on a boxing weigh-in event fuelled a bloody feud between the Kinahan and Hutch gangs.

Mr Hutch (59), of The Paddocks, Clontarf, Dublin, Mr Murphy (61) of Cherry Avenue, Swords and Mr Bonney (51) of Drumnigh Wood, Portmarnock, deny the charges against them.

Jonathan Dowdall had also been accused of murder, but before the trial started, he instead admitted facilitating Mr Byrne’s killing by booking a hotel room for the perpetrators.

The court has heard when he drove Mr Hutch north on March 7, 2016, covert tracking and audio devices had been deployed on Dowdall’s Toyota Land Cruiser jeep by the Garda National Surveillance Unit.

The prosecution is seeking to use in evidence a 10-hour recording of conversations from that journey. The admissibility of the evidence is being challenged by Mr Hutch’s defence, maintaining that for eight hours of the recording, the jeep was outside the jurisdiction, where any surveillance by gardaí is unlawful.

This afternoon, the court heard of discussions between Mr Hutch and Dowdall about meetings to involve republicans in mediations with the Kinahans.

As they drove through Northern Ireland, Dowdall said "they probably have your mate up here… Mr Murray”.

“You must’ve got a promotion,” he said to another man who was heard replying that his car was “a lend” for the day.

“There won’t be a gaff left on the hinges up here if them bleeding yokes are found here,” Dowdall said to Mr Hutch minutes later.

After a meeting, Dowdall said: “They sent a message up there, they don’t want anything happening with the Hutches, stop what you’re f**king doing.” This was coming “through the leadership”, he said.

Dowdall said he would not be afraid of “any c**t like that” but “I’m a afraid of me bollix of getting tortured to death”.

“They are like bleeding kids running around, aren’t they?” Dowdall said.

Dowdall asked the third man whose voice was audible again about a number of men and he replied “them there, part of the army council”.

Dowdall said Paul Rice, a Kinahan associate, had offered to come up on behalf of the Kinahans and (the republicans) told him to “f**k off”.

Mr Hutch said: “I would want to be present at some meeting…the Kinahans will come and meet with us anyway for a ceasefire.”

Dowdall said he thought “they are probably underestimating Kinahan as well”.

“Listening to them two there, just having a cup of tea, the way they are talking they’ll probably kill that Murray guy,” Mr Hutch said of a meeting.

Dowdall was also heard saying: “There’s no grey area, Gerard, they are looking after your family.”

They drove to another meeting in the North and afterwards, Dowdall was heard to complain about “a four hour drive to stand in a lane for five minutes”.

“Did you not realise you were talking to the three wise men, the three chiefs?” Mr Hutch replied.

“Five grown men standing in a laneway,” he said, to which Mr Hutch replied “five grown men and one wee man”.

“Kinahan is weak at the moment,” Dowdall said later.

Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch is on trial for the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in Dublin in 2016. Photo: PA

Dowdall told Mr Hutch (the republicans) sent word to the Kinahans, who got the message, that they wanted to meet them about the feud. They told Paul Rice, who was sent as a representative, to “f**k off, we’re not meeting you”.

Dowdall said he did not doubt for a minute that they were not going to do what they said they were going to do.

“They’re gonna tell them there cannot be anymore messing,” Dowdall said.

“So what do the Kinahans say, 'are we going to sit down and let them murder us'?” Mr Hutch said.

Dowdall said a man they had met was “laying down the law” and “if he’s like that with us, he’ll be twenty hundred times worse with them.” “Ah yeah, he’ll be like Hitler,” Mr Hutch said.

Dowdall asked if Mr Hutch reckoned Kinahan would listen and he replied: “It will suit the Kinahans.”

“We will dish it out and we guarantee nothing will happen,” he said. “For the sake of everyone involved, it’s the best option or go to war. Cause there’s going to be casualties on both sides.”

Speaking about republicans, Dowdall said “they are getting the cream of the crop” of “so-called gangsters in Dublin”.

Mr Hutch said they were “dictators” and wanted to go in with an “iron fist” and “don’t want to take advice off us”.

“Gerard, I’m in this with you to the bleeding death,” Dowdall said.

He told Mr Hutch he did not think it would be wise to “let them c***ts off the hook” and they had killed his brother.

“And they’re killing people in the community,” he said.

The court will rule on admissibility of the audio evidence after hearing the recordings and legal submissions.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Tara Burns, Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Grainne Malone.

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