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Other members of the Kinahan cartel in the prison include the likes of ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson, Peadar Keating and David Duffy
Paramilitary hard man Gerard Mackin will serve his time rubbing shoulders with the gangland criminals he chose to work for.
The Belfast native, who this week pleaded guilty to money-laundering, once had ambitions to head up his own dissident republican organisation.
But instead, his breakaway ‘New INLA’ teamed up with the Kinahan cartel in their brutal feud with the Hutch gang following the Regency shooting in 2016, from which Daniel Kinahan narrowly escaped with his life.
Now aged 40, Mackin is locked up in the high-security Portlaoise Prison, but not in the paramilitary wing where dissident republican inmates enjoy a different regime and see themselves as having a higher status.
Other members of the Kinahan cartel in the prison include the likes of ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson, Peadar Keating and David Duffy, who are serving sentences for their part in gangland murder plots.
Mackin’s New INLA group were responsible for two killings during the height of the Kinahan-Hutch feud.
During that bloody period in 2016 Mackin had been in prison for his part in an extortion attempt in Limerick in which a man’s foot was nailed to a floor.
The Sunday World were present in 2018 when he emerged from Castlerea Prison after serving his time – during which he was said to be a model prisoner despite suspicions of organising drug dealing in the Co. Roscommon lockup.
In the two years after his release, he fled Ireland following his arrest in relation to money laundering when he had returned to Limerick.
According to sources, he had described himself as Daniel Kinahan’s personal bodyguard and had gone to stay in both Spain and Dubai.
His arrest in Spain in 2022 came just a week after the arrest there of the Cartel’s senior money-laundering operator, Johnny Morrissey, although the two arrests are not thought to be connected.
This week, Mackin pleaded guilty to laundering €4,780, allegedly the proceeds of criminal behaviour, at Rhebogue Road, Limerick, on April, 2019.
At the Special Criminal Court, Mackin spoke only to confirm his name and answer “guilty” when the single charge was put to him by the registrar at the non-jury court on Monday.
He had been arrested at Dublin Airport last December after being sent from Spain on a European Arrest Warrant issued on April 7, 2022.
His defence lawyer asked that a prison governor’s report be prepared ahead of his sentencing later this month.
His friend Johnny Keogh is serving life for the murder of Gareth Hutch in Dublin in 2016, while another close pal, Eamon Cumberton, is also serving life for the killing of Michael Barr.
Until his previous arrest in 2016, Mackin was a senior figure in the New INLA with a strong base in Limerick.
He had been in a power struggle for control of the INLA with other leaders, including Declan ‘Wacker’ Duffy and ‘Red’ Gar Byrne.
But Mackin was considered too volatile to hold such a position, leading Mackin to break away and set up his own group, dubbed the New INLA, which included Keogh and Cumberton.
Another notorious criminal from Ballymun was also a close associate of the faction and is now in custody awaiting trial for murder.
Mackin was also an associate of another dissident paramilitary ‘Fat’ Deccie Smith, who was gunned down in Dublin in 2014 as he brought a child to a crèche.
He previously went on trial when he became the first person found guilty in a Dublin court for a murder in Belfast under the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act of 1976. He was found guilty in the Special Criminal Court of the murder of Continuity IRA member Edward Burns in Belfast.
Burns (36) was gunned down in west Belfast in March 2007 on the same night that his friend Joe Jones was bludgeoned to death in an alleyway in north Belfast.
Three years later, Mackin’s conviction was overturned and a re-trial in 2011 collapsed when a witness told a judge: “I have been threatened that if I give evidence I will be shot dead.”
Mackin’s capacity for violence was also laid bare during his trial in 2018 for the torture of a man in Limerick
The victim was put in a chair in the middle of the kitchen and assaulted during which his shoe was removed and foot was nailed to the floor.
It was part of an extortion attempt to “fill the void left by the demise of the Dundons”, it was heard in court.
The victim from Rathkeale in County Limerick, told the Special Criminal Court that he “thought he was going to be killed” by Mackin.