Gardai round up notorious gangsters in swoop
NINE members of the country's most notorious crime gang were in custody last night following a series of dawn raids by 130 gardai.
All but one senior figure in the McCarthy-Dundon criminal gang were either being questioned by officers in Limerick last night or were behind bars.
The arrests came following attempts by the gang to engage in further serious criminality.
The Irish Independent has learned that members of the McCarthy-Dundon outfit had begun an organised campaign to threaten people in both the Ballinacurra-Weston and Rathkeale areas of Limerick.
In a bid to extort cash, gang members are attempting to force individuals to hand over lucrative sums by intimidation and pressure. In some instances, the people -- subjected to intense pressure from the gang -- work for themselves.
Those targeted are warned not to make a complaint or statement to gardai by the criminals. However, officers in Limerick are hopeful of bringing serious charges and convictions against some of the city's most dangerous criminals.
Yesterday's arrests were part of a major offensive against the criminal activities of the McCarthy-Dundon gang.
During the major operation against the Limerick gang, gardai had to break down reinforced steel shutters and doors installed at homes of the outfit when they went to arrest the criminals.
Inside one home on Hyde Road, gardai had to break down a steel door which had been installed along the stairs while a senior gang member sat upstairs.
Up to 130 officers were involved in the raids across the Hyde Road and Lenihan Avenue areas of Ballinacurra-Weston and at another address in Dooradoyle.
Armed detectives and local gardai were assisted by officers from the national bureau of criminal investigation, the emergency response unit and the garda national immigration bureau.
All nine arrested men, aged in their 20s and 30s, are connected to the McCarthy-Dundon gang. One is aged in his early 20s and has been in out and of jail in recent years for a variety of offences. He has more than 90 convictions.
Seven are being held under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act and can be held for up to seven days.
Chief Supt David Sheahan said yesterday's operation was "a major offensive against serious criminal activity in the city". No guns or drugs were recovered yesterday but investigations are continuing.
Last night only one senior member of the McCarthy-Dundon gang was not locked up or being questioned by gardai.
He was recently released from prison and is regarded as one of the most violent criminals encountered by gardai in Limerick. As well as those being questioned at garda stations across Limerick city and county this weekend, other senior members of the gang are currently behind bars serving lengthy sentences.