Tuesday 26 September 2017

Man arrested in dissident Larry Keane murder inquiry

Larry Keane
Larry Keane

GARDAI investigating the murder of Larry Keane have arrested a man.

The 47-year-old was arrested at 7am in the Athy area this morning.

He is currently being detained at Kildare Garda Station.

Larry ‘Bomber’ Keane, who was a dissident republican, was beaten and kicked to death in an alleyway in Athy on Thursday, July 18 last.

It’s believed he was killed over a minor dispute.

He earned his nickname after being caught as he was about to transport a massive bomb targeting the Aintree grand national meeting in Liverpool.

Gardai said they believe the attack could be linked to a previous incident involving Keane and another man.

Detectives do not believe there is any terrorist connection to the murder.

Keane sustained severe injuries to the back of his head as a result of the attack and gardai attempted to resuscitate him at the scene before he was rushed to Naas General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead early yesterday.

Two passers-by alerted gardai after they found him on ground between St John's Lane and the Greenhills housing estate.

Gardai carried out a minute search of nearby undergrowth to establish if a weapon had been used in the attack.

The victim's son, Lawrence Keane, said nurses and doctors fought valiantly into the early hours to save his father's life but he died at 5am.

"God rest your soul, Da, and may you know peace that you never knew in life", the son posted on his website. He declined to pay any further tribute, saying he would not be able "to do justice to him".

Keane was well known to many around Athy.

He had served with the Defence Forces from 1974 to 1980, including six months peacekeeping in the Lebanon. His former wife claimed that he suffered post-traumatic stress.

Theresa Fennell told how he had been incapacitated in his later years, walking with the aid of a stick after being injured in a car crash several years ago.

It is understood that Keane encountered murdered Dublin RIRA boss Alan Ryan in Portlaoise Prison, where they were located on the same wing. He attended his funeral after he was shot dead last September.

Keane had a number of convictions, including a six-month suspended term for assaulting a man at Leinster Street in Athy town on December 8, 2011. He was fined €400 but this remained unpaid.

However, in 1998 he pleaded guilty to having 980lb of an explosive mixture, plus devices, with the intent to endanger life or enable another to do so at Dun Laoghaire port on April 2, that year. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail but the term was reduced to 10 on appeal.

The court heard that the explosives were twice the size of the bomb used by the Real IRA in Omagh in 1998, when 29 people were killed.

The homemade explosives were contained in a silage bag in the boot of the stolen red BMW that he was driving.

Keane was arrested by the garda emergency response unit as he waited to board the ferry for Wales after gardai had received a tip-off. Gardai believed that the likely target of the Real IRA was the Aintree Grand National.

Keane had a false driving licence on him and was wearing a wig when arrested.

A timer had been placed under the front passenger seat and was connected to detonating cord that passed through to the boot filled with explosives.

The court heard Keane had been offered Stg£2,000 to drive the car bomb to England and that he had been recruited by dissident republicans while working as an orderly in Portlaoise Prison, when he was serving a sentence for assault.

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