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Thursday 27 April 2017

High-speed chase drama as two gang members held

Barry Duggan

ARMED gardai had to force two criminals driving a stolen car and armed with a loaded handgun off the road following a high-speed chase in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The two young men -- both members of a feuding Limerick criminal gang -- were attempting to flee officers from the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and pursuing gardai in a stolen Mazda, while armed with a glock 9mm handgun, on the outskirts of Limerick city.

Both men, aged 23 and 20, were arrested and were being questioned by gardai in Limerick last night.

One of the men, who is a high-ranking member of the Keane criminal gang, was released from prison recently. He is believed to be the prime suspect in a drive-by shooting in the city last month, when an opposing McCarthy-Dundon gang member was shot twice near his home. He has more than 50 criminal convictions.

Both individuals are from the St Mary's Park area of the city and are regarded as dangerous criminals by gardai.

The drama unfolded at 2am yesterday, when the stolen Dublin-registered car was seen driving through the city by gardai.

Forced

It was followed and told to stop but refused to do so, and a high-speed chase ensued through the Corbally suburb and into Athlunkard, Co Clare. Supported by ERU officers, pursuing gardai eventually forced it to stop near a petrol station.

Both men were arrested at the scene and the firearm was recovered from the car. The arrested men are being detained under section 30 of the Offences against the State act at Henry Street and Mayorstone garda stations in the city.

Officers are attempting to establish whether the two men were en route to carry out another gun attack in the city's ongoing feud.

Chairman of Limerick's Joint Policing Committee, Kevin Kiely, has renewed his call that anyone found in possession of unlicensed firearms should not be granted bail.

"They should be held in custody until trial. I also want to see mandatory 15-year sentences for anyone caught in possession of illegal firearms," Mr Kiely said.

"A strong majority of people in a recent poll decided they have had enough of these gangland criminals and want to see legislation introduced to allow selective internment of known gang members.

"As far as people are concerned, the government are not in touch with the people on the ground," Mr Kiely claimed.

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