James ‘Jaws’ Byrne has been unemployed since 1974
Despite being unemployed since 1974, he owns his home in Raleigh Square in Crumlin with no mortgage, has gifted his daughter an apartment and wears a €35,000 Rolex Oyster watch on his arm.
Wife Sadie drives a Lexus jeep, yet claims she manages her household with the €227 a week she receives from her State pension.
Sadie Byrne claims she exists on her €227-a-week pension
The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) believe that is just pocket money to the Byrnes and their cohorts, who had the audacity go to the High Court and look for the State to pay their legal bill to fight the Proceeds of Crime cases against them.
Last week Justice Carmel Stewart refused their applications and in a damning judgement delivered a crystal clear message to criminals trying to hide their riches.
In her lengthy judgement, she threw out the applications of the Byrnes, Liam Roe, Sean McGovern, Anita Freeman and Kelly Quinn.
The Byrnes’ son Liam, the top target of a €100million Garda clampdown on organised crime, along with his wife Simoan McEnroe, daughter Maria Byrne and Darren and Jennifer Foster, were also named in the proceedings.
In their rush to have their legal fees footed by the taxpayer, the applicants, all targeted by the CAB’s investigations into the Kinahan Cartel, had their lifestyles laid bare in a courtroom.
Liam Roe had told the court that he is unemployed and lives with his father at Mangerton Road in Drimnagh.
He claimed his lavish lifestyle is funded by his father and says he has no assets at all.
Roe, who Gardaí believe is among the top rungs of the cartel, has a driver, but claimed to the court that his friends provide his transport.
Despite not claiming unemployment benefit for 15 years, the CAB showed that in one year alone he had travelled six times to the U.K., Spain and the U.S..
He was able to attend the Conor McGregor vs Chad Mendes fight in Las Vegas in July 2015 and flew to Dubai in March 2016.
Roe was awarded a €300,000 compensation claim in 1999 after an accident, but claims he no longer has access to those funds.
In 2006 he sold a house to his cousin Liam Byrne for €294,000, but couldn’t explain where the money had gone.
A year later he was stopped at Dublin Airport with €60,000 in cash.
In recent years he has managed to pay large sums of money to the Atlas Centre, where VRT is paid for imported cars.
He also claimed to have earned a mere €6,000 from the Alfie Byrne pub in Dublin 1 – where he was a registered director of the company – which was raided by the CAB in March 2016.
CAB seized a Kawasaki Ninja motorbike and an Audi A5 from Roe, but Justice Stewart said his story didn’t add up and if he wants them back he will have to be more upfront about the sources of his finances.
Sean McGovern, who was Liam Byrne’s business partner at LS active car sales – which was the focus of a high-profile CAB raid in the wake of the Regency Hotel – also told the court that he is unemployed.
When his home on Kildare Road, where he lives with his civil partner Anita Freeman, was raided, a Rolex watch valued at €10,000 and another €10,000 in cash were seized.
McGovern told the court he had been an apprentice plumber, but hasn’t worked for the last three years.
He bought his home in March 2015 and carried out renovations on the premises to the tune of €250,000 – way more than the €150,000 he paid for the property.
Documents detailed by CAB showed that the money for the purchase of the house came from a bank account in Mauritius and a company called Grand Baie Trust Limited sent the cheque.
During the proceedings McGovern requested that a forensic accountant be paid for under the free legal aid scheme to find out where the €250,000 renovation funds went, but Justice Stewart pointed out that he should know as he had paid for them.
Anita Freeman, who the court heard is in receipt of disability benefit, said she had worked from an early age and earned €360 a week, but was made redundant in 2016.
Despite this, CAB says she paid VRT of €5,900 on a BMW car and took eight flights in 2016 – two to Dubai and one to Las Vegas.
Justice Stewart refused the couple free legal aid, saying their lifestyle did not match their means.
Kelly Quinn, the partner of murdered David Byrne, told the court she hasn’t worked since 2008, at which point she earned €15,000 a year.
She said she was on social welfare payments, including rent subsidy, but couldn’t explain how she was driving a €62,000 Lexus.
Nor did her dole payments explain how she could take seven flights last year to the U.K., Spain and Las Vegas.
She told cops that cash of more than €7,000 found in her home was from a whip-around by friends after her partner’s murder at the Regency Hotel assassination.