Notorious gang nears collapse as gardai move on crime boss
GARDAI are preparing to arrest one of the last remaining leaders of the notorious McCarthy-Dundon gang as part of their crackdown on organised crime.
The man -- who is in his early 40s and has several criminal convictions -- is one of the few members of the now bitterly divided gang who has not already been jailed or gone on the run.
The anticipated arrest comes almost exactly 10 years to the day after the murder of a Limerick crime enforcer in a city pub which sparked the murderous decade-long feud that has so far claimed the lives of 22 people.
From the 22 deaths, seven cases have been successfully prosecuted. Trials are pending in five other cases, while 10 murders have not resulted in convictions as investigations continue.
Since the first murder a decade ago, Limerick's criminal's underworld has been constantly evolving.
The majority of the most senior criminals are behind bars serving lengthy sentences including life, while others are awaiting trial.
The McCarthy-Dundon gang has been left severely depleted in their stronghold of Weston on the city's southside following the arrest of eight members of the outfit earlier this year as part of 'Operation Red Wing'.
One senior member of the outfit is believed to have started taking heroin in prison and is regarded as being extremely volatile. Other former associates are now attempting to distance themselves from the gang.
The McCarthy-Dundon's associates in Moyross are also under considerable strain following recent operations by gardai. Officers have focused their attention on one individual who is controlling the gang's drugs trade from his Moyross base.
He was recently arrested by gardai in connection with a substantial discovery of heroin on the outskirts of the city. Officers hope that a lengthy prosecution against the individual will soon arise.
Last month, an AK-47 assault rifle and ammunition were found near his base. He is also closely aligned to the Ryan brothers, Kieran and Eddie, who received lengthy jail terms this summer for the possession of a handgun.
On the opposing side of the feud, the Irish Independent has learned that two members of the Collopy gang have fled the city as they fear arrest and imprisonment. One man -- who was recently released from prison following a drugs conviction -- fled to Europe after threatening to kill a former associate. The other man -- aged in his 20s -- fled after a substantial seizure of heroin in the Ballysimon area of Limerick earlier this year.
Three other members of the outfit are in custody awaiting trial for serious offences.
Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Limerick prosecutor Michael Murray said "a terrible price has been paid for this feud".
"There are people serving very long jail sentences and families that have been bereaved. So long as the feud continues, this misery will continue," he said.
As for legislation introduced last year to deal specifically with criminal gangs, Mr Murray said it was too early to pass judgement. "It has yet to be tried and tested," he said.