Thursday 23 March 2017

Notorious gang killer released from prison

Barry Duggan

THE only man to be charged in connection with the murder that ignited the country's most notorious gang feud has been freed from prison.

Paul Coffey (32) was released from Limerick prison after he completed a lengthy spell behind bars.

He received a 15-year sentence -- with seven years suspended -- for his role in the fatal shooting of feared criminal Eddie Ryan (40) in the Moose Bar in Limerick city in November, 2000.

His release comes almost 10 years after the murder which ignited a brutal and bloody war of attrition between the Keane and Ryan criminal gangs.

While incarcerated, Coffey, from Limerick's Moyross estate, was caught with a mobile phone in his cell and had three months added onto his initial sentence.

At his trial in Dublin in 2003, he declared he was not guilty of Ryan's murder, but pleaded guilty to his manslaughter.

Eddie Ryan was a well-known enforcer and right-hand man of senior drug dealer Christy Keane throughout the 1990s. However, tensions between the two men grew after violence flared between Eddie's brother, John Ryan, and Christy's neighbours, the Collopys.

Ryan wanted to make his own niche in the lucrative drugs scene and attempted to shoot Christy Keane. The assassination bid failed and Ryan's days were numbered.

Coffey drove Kieran Keane (34), Christy's brother, and Philip Collopy (20) -- both now deceased -- in a stolen car to and from the busy pub where Eddie Ryan was shot 11 times.

Since then, Limerick's feud and the city's criminal gangs have claimed the lives of 20 others.

Irish Independent

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