Friday 24 February 2017

The battle against Limerick city gangs goes on after fall of MacCarthy Dundons

Barry Duggan

Garda armed support unit Stock picture
Garda armed support unit Stock picture

After the break-up of the notorious McCarthy-Dundon criminal gang in Limerick, the popular perception was serious criminality in the region was consigned to the past.

Not so, as heroin dealing – a scourge across the country – continued and was fuelled and supplied by another Limerick city gang: the Collopys.

Based in St Mary’s Park, known locally as the Island Field, their gang members are well accustomed to gardaí, the courts and jail.

Brian Collopy was released from prison just 11 months before he was arrested last December.

The married father-of-four, who has amassed 20 criminal convictions, was jailed for six years in 2011 for threatening to kill former gang associate

Willie Moran. Moran was placed under armed garda protection while the case was being investigated.

In evidence, Moran said Collopy made the shape of a gun with his hand and shouted, “Willie, you are going to get it now”, and said a serving detective in the city would not be able to save him.

Brian Collopy was also shot twice in old Francis Street on December 20, 2006.

His home, Ashby House at Fedamore, Co Limerick, was seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) as part of a €470,000 settlement.

Collopy purchased it in 2002 for more than €150,000 and paid for it in cash.

Philip Collopy: helped gardai before shooting himself
Philip Collopy: helped gardai before shooting himself

His son Kenneth (24) is serving a life sentence for the 2009 gun murder of Daniel Fitzgerald, who had no involvement in crime.

In 2011, Kieran Collopy (40) along with his brother, Damian Collopy (25), of St Ita’s Street, St Mary’s Park, Limerick, were both jailed for

five years for threatening to kill Moran.

The brothers believed Moran had money belonging to their late brother – Philip Collopy.

Philip (29) committed the first feud murder in Limerick in 2000 when he and another crime boss Kieran Keane shot Eddie Ryan dead in the

Moose bar.

Philip died in March 2009 when he put his Glock pistol to his head and pulled the trigger, forgetting about a bullet in the breach.

At the time, he had provided gardaí with the complete background of the 2008 murder of innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan.

The McCarthy-Dundon gang had attempted to kill Philip’s associate, John McNamara, and Philip was prepared to testify against crime boss John Dundon.

To the astonishment of all senior officers, Philip provided detailed evidence and recorded statements against Dundon and gunman Barry Doyle but took his own life before he could testify.

Ten years ago, another brother, Jonathan Collopy (19), was jailed for three years after two undercover members of the Garda National Drugs Bureau succeeded in buying drugs from a house in St Ita’s Street in St Mary’s Park on five separate occasions in November 2004.

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