Wednesday 26 July 2017

Criminals in crash were on mission for gang boss

Barry Duggan

TWO dead men and a criminal whose stolen car crashed while he was attempting to evade gardai are suspected to have been en route to extort money from a Traveller.

Criminal Andrew Nolan (30), along with the victims of Tuesday's car crash, Eric Fitzgerald (23) and Cornelius Fitzharris (28), are believed to have been on the way to carry out a criminal mission on the instructions of the country's most feared criminal.

While investigations are at a very early stage, it is believed that the trio -- who crashed on an icy road near Croagh, Co Limerick -- were attempting to take cash from a wealthy Traveller living in west Limerick.

Tuesday's fatal crash on the N21 road and Wayne Dundon's return to Limerick city less than 24 hours previously are regarded as less than a coincidence.

Dundon was in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital on Tuesday night, checking on the occupants of the wrecked car after it attempted to escape from a garda car.

Recovered from inside the stolen BMW was a BB gun, balaclavas and house-breaking implements. The car had been stolen in the Granville Park area of Limerick last month.

Murder

It is believed that the trio planned to extort money from a Traveller with whom Dundon has clashed following his release from prison earlier this year.

Last April, Dundon's gang threatened the son of a prominent Traveller from Rathkeale, Co Limerick and attempted to extort €100,000.

One source said Nolan, from John Carew Park, Southill, is regarded as Dundon's "lieutenant".

When interviewed by gardai regarding the 2003 feud murder of Michael Campbell-McNamara, Nolan refused to name the suspected killers.

Gardai believe Campbell-McNamara was murdered by members of the McCarthy-Dundon gang after Nolan lured him to his home on the pretence of selling him a sawn-off shotgun.

Following the murder, Nolan fled the State and was not arrested until October 2006 when he returned to Limerick for a birthday party for one of his children.

He remained in hospital yesterday, where he is being treated for head injuries. It is understood that he will be interviewed by the Garda Ombudsman when deemed well enough.

Gardai are appealing to the driver of a red Renault Megane, whom they believe was the second car at the scene, to contact them. The driver was a young man with blonde hair.

Irish Independent

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