They Said, they Cleaned up, Limerick City; They Lied, Gangland Thugs, Drugs, Shootings, and Turf Wars, are Back, in Full Swing again?

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TREATY TENSION 

Inside fresh Limerick gang war fears as rivals have ‘access to serious weaponry’ and young dealers warped on cocaine

  • 18:10, 14 Sep 2022
  • Updated: 18:12, 14 Sep 2022

IT is more than a decade since the ­murderous Limerick gangs waged a bloody war in the city — but there are fears history is repeating itself.

This week, Gardai stepped up armed patrols in areas of the city as they tried to keep a lid on rising tensions among rival groups, who are said to have “access to serious weaponry”.

A convoy of Garda vehicles traveling through Limerick as tensions flared between rival groups
A convoy of Garda vehicles traveling through Limerick as tensions flared between rival groups
Limerick gangster Wayne Dundon
Limerick gangster Wayne DundonCredit: Niall Marshall

The recent upsurge in tensions involves young associates of rival gangs who are paranoid and erratic due to addictions to cocaine, sources said.

Photographs shared on social media showed a convoy of Garda vehicles on their way to carry out raids in St Mary’s Park – a former stronghold of the Collopy gang – on Tuesday after a number of serious and violent incidents.

These include car windows being smashed and an attempt to burn a car after tensions flared during a city soccer match.

The rival groups which are led by experienced senior drug dealers, who previously feuded for a decade from 2000.

In 2008, the capital of the midwest was locked in a deadly spiral of tit-for-tat killings culminating in the shooting of innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan.

He was mistaken for one of the gang leaders before an intensive campaign of “in your face” policing finally brought the hoods to heel.

It’s seen the worst figures, such as vicious brothers Wayne and John Dundon, either behind bars or neutralised.

Later, the mobsters called a truce and concentrated on earning vast profits from selling heroin and cocaine.

However, young males associated with the gangs have recently been involved in local clashes and verbal exchanges on social media, which has fueled tensions.

Gardaí gave visited a number of individuals to deliver Garda Information Messages (GIMs) warning them that they are subject of threats to their lives.

A large Garda contingent swooped on flashpoint areas on Tuesday in a “show of strength” and a bid to calm the situation.

Garda sources as well as local community activists said they are now concerned recent tensions could spill over and lead to further violence.

“The senior drug dealers see themselves as businessmen if you will, but the younger lads are drug users as well as dealers and they are highly erratic,” said a source.

“These younger guys don’t care about jail, the difference between these guys and the older brigade is that they are so warped from cocaine they are completely erratic.

‘CRIMINAL CONNECTIONS’

“The older brigade don’t want to go back to what it was like 20 years ago, they are businessmen now and they have moved on from all that, but all it takes is one act of violence, one person to be killed and all bets are off then.

“Some of these lads have access to serious criminal connections and serious weaponry, that’s the concern now.

“The younger members of the feuding families are winding each other up and there is a realisation in An Garda Siochana that this could potentially get quite serious.

“There was a lot of raids in St Mary’s Park Tuesday, and the Gardaí have been keeping a presence in Moyross, the armed garda units are back around again, which is reassuring for people and which is what you want to see happening.

“The presence in St Mary’s Park the other day was a signal from Gardaí to these young crews that we are not going back 15/20 years.”

KEEPING TRACK

The source said CCTV cameras which have been strategically located in flashpoint areas around the gang’s bases, are key for Gardaí to keep track of certain individuals.

“The cameras are so important because they are what keeps a lid on all of this, and we’ve all seen recent discussions about the legality of CCTV cameras and what impact they potentially have on civil liberties – but tell that to the people who were living in a war zone in Limerick 15 years ago.

“We would be back to square one if it wasn’t for the cameras, we really would, and no one wants that.”

A Garda spokesman replied: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on ongoing investigations.”

The original feud between drug gangs dating between the late 90s and late-2000s saw a turf war break out and 20 people killed.

The feud involved the Keane and Collopy gangs from St Mary’s Park, the McCarthy Ryans from Moyross, and the Dundon mob from Ballinacurra Weston.

The feud abated when Gardaí cracked down on the gangs after two members of the public, who had no links to crime, were murdered by the Dundon McCarthy mob.

They were rugby player and son Shane Geoghegan who was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity in 2008, and businessman Roy Collins who was shot dead in 2009 after members of his family testified in a criminal trial against the leader of the Dundon gang, Wayne Dundon.

Shane Geoghegan was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity in 2008
Shane Geoghegan was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity in 2008Credit: PA Wire

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