Victim's father prays family will be left alone
HE has lost his beloved son and been subjected to a vicious campaign of violent threats and intimidation.
But Limerick publican Steve Collins last night said his only hope now was to "keep our fingers crossed and hope we are left alone".
The pain is endless for Steve after his eldest son, Roy, was shot dead almost a year ago. As a result, his family are receiving round-the-clock garda protection.
In 2005, despite receiving serious threats, Steve's nephew Ryan Lee provided crucial testimony to secure a conviction against Wayne Dundon. The criminal was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for threatening to kill Lee outside his uncle's pub in December 2004. This term was later reduced to seven years.
In the intervening years, and before his son's murder, Steve received a letter from prison stating that a €75,000 contract had been put on his head.
Wayne Dundon walked free from Wheatfield prison early yesterday morning.
He is expected back in Limerick this weekend.
Dundon's home on Hyde Road and Steve Collins's pub at Roxboro are less than a mile away.
"You never get comfort from these people," Steve told the Irish Independent.
"I think it is time for him (Wayne) to move his wagons. I hope he will see that there is nothing here in Limerick for him anymore.
"I don't know what kind of life he is going to have. I think he is finished in Limerick as far as I can see. I think the only thing for him now is to get out of here.
"There is no more damage they can do, the guards are on top of them. The guards are going to be watching him. We didn't think he would be released for another three years, but it has happened now and we just have to deal with it as we know how dangerous he can be," Steve said.
A plaque will be unveiled in memory of Roy at Roxboro on April 11 after the family attend his anniversary Mass.
"It is coming up to that time of year (Roy's death) now. It has been a very tough, tough year. It is our life now and we just want to get on with it," Steve said.
Following his son's death, Steve successfully campaigned for legislation to be enacted to deal with the country's criminal gangs. It is hoped that the first prosecutions will soon arise. "We have to be patient. I understand the gardai have to get it right. They have had 80 odd cases gone to the DPP and I am told it has been singled down to three that they feel are winnable," Steve said.
"I think it is important that when it (the cases) goes across to the Special Criminal Court, that they are successful with this and get convictions.
"I can understand the guards and prosecution are being cautious, but I am still anxious. Until people see it working, they won't have any confidence in it. Like everyone, we're hoping to see the new legislation working," he added.