Father of Roy Collins back home after fleeing under witness protection
Published 04/01/2013 | 05:00
THE father of an innocent victim of a gangland killing, who was forced to flee the country in fear of his life, returned home to spend Christmas with his family.
Roy Collins was shot dead by a member of the notorious McCarthy-Dundon gang in 2009.
Last March, dad Steve Collins and his family required the help of a witness relocation programme to move abroad after their life in Limerick city became intolerable due to constant threats.
But during the Christmas period Mr Collins returned home to spend the holidays with friends and extended family members.
Gardai kept a watch on Ms Collins and his family throughout the holidays as they met with relations and friends in the city.
He spent New Year's Eve at a popular pub on the suburbs of Limerick city.
"He was in good form – it was great to see him," one local said.
"It is clear that this is a tough time of year for him as they are obviously thinking about Roy."
The family also visited Roy's grave.
This is the second time Mr Collins returned to Limerick since he leaving Ireland and last June he and his family returned for a wedding.
Last March, Mr Collins said that he wanted his family to have a normal life and not to be constantly looking over their shoulders.
"It is too much. Everywhere we go, the guards have to go with us. It is not a normal life," Mr Collins said.
"You are constantly thinking what could happen next."
The move abroad was only made possible by an unprecedented €1m deal involving the purchase of Mr Collins' business properties by the Limerick Regeneration Agencies and Limerick City Council.
The Irish Independent revealed that the regeneration bodies spent €700,000 buying Mr Collins's Steering Wheel pub and the neighbouring casino where Roy was shot dead.
Limerick City Council purchased another Collins-owned pub, Brannigan's, and a small terraced house for a combined price of €365,000.
Records obtained reveal the Steering Wheel/casino deal was agreed as far back as last November 2011 after it became apparent the Collins' lives were still in danger despite the jailing of a number of senior figures in the McCarthy-Dundon gang.