A MURDER investigation is underway after a well-known dissident republican died following an assault in Kildare.
The man has been named locally as Larry Keane (56).
Mr Keane was handed down a 15 year prison sentence by the Special Criminal Court in 1998 for driving a car containing a bomb, stated to be twice the size of the Omagh bomb.
The sentence was later reduced to ten years on appeal.
Mr Keane was found fatally injured by gardai before midnight last night in a walkway between St John’s Lane and the Greenhills Housing Estate in Athy, Co Kildare.
Gardai were called to the scene and upon their arrival, they found the man unconscious with a head wound and began to administer first aid.
Mr Keane was rushed to Naas General Hospital – but passed away at 5am this morning.
The scene has been sealed off pending a forensic technical examination and incident room has been set up in Athy Garda Station.
The State Pathologist has been informed and a post-mortem is expected to get underway later today.
Gardai have now begun a murder investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Athy Garda Station on 059 8634210.
In December 1998, the father of six, from Cloney, Athy, pleaded guilty in the Special Criminal Corut to having 980lbs of an improvised explosive mixture, a time power unit, an electrical detonator, two improvised booster tubes and an improvising detonating cord with intent to endanger life or enable another person to do so, when stopped by gardai at Dun Laoghaire Port on April 2, 1998.
On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeal determined that Keane’s role was a lesser one than that of those who planned and made the bomb. The three-judge court reduced his prison term to ten years.