Former councillor Jonathan Dowdall being assessed for Witness Protection

Former councillor Jonathan Dowdall being assessed for Witness Protection
08/07/22 Jonathan Dowdall, 44, and from the Navan Road in Dublin is charged with murdering 33-year-old David Byrne at the hotel on 5 February 2016.pictured leaving the special criminal court in Dublin this afternoon… Pic Collins Courts

Alison O'Riordan

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall is being assessed for the Witness Protection Programme after giving a statement to gardaí which implicates another or others in the murder of David Byrne, who was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in 2016 as part of the Hutch/Kinahan gang feud.

Dowdall, who last week pleaded guilty to facilitating Mr Byrne's murder by making a hotel room available to be used by the Hutch gang ahead of the murder, will never again live in Ireland, a garda told the three-judge Special Criminal Court on Monday morning.

Detective Sergeant Patrick O'Toole agreed with Dowdall's barrister Michael O'Higgins SC that the decision to give a statement to gardaí has placed a "very heavy burden" on him and his family.


He further agreed that while Dowdall has known the Hutch family since he was a teenager, and occasionally borrowed money from them, he is not a member of any criminal organisation.

The detective added that Dowdall did not benefit from the activities of the Hutch crime gang.

Dowdall was in court for a sentencing hearing on Monday morning alongside his father, Patrick Dowdall, who also pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of Mr Byrne.

Both men were brought into court by two plain clothes gardaí through the jury entrance rather than the cells or public entrance.


Det Sgt O'Toole said the Dowdall family is now in protective garda custody, which has been a "significant shock". A risk assessment carried out by gardaí suggested a "severe" risk to Dowdall and members of his family.

"It's like taking your life and standing is on its head," said Mr O'Higgins.