Monday 18 December 2017

€1m for family's new life abroad

Wheel/casino deal was agreed as far back as last November as it became apparent the Collins's lives were still in danger despite the jailing of a number of senior figures in the crime gang.

The second sale is currently being processed.

The Irish Independent understands that Brannigans, which has been closed since 2005, will cost in the region of €250,000, while the nearby house, which had been rented out, has been priced at €115,000.

Last year, there was an arson attack at the small home.

Ryan Lee -- the adopted son of Steve Collins -- was shot twice in Brannigans bar in 2004 after he refused to admit the underage sister of gang boss Wayne Dundon to the premises. Dundon was convicted of threatening to kill Lee.

Arson

The popular pub was extensively damaged in an arson attack in 2005 and never reopened.

In 2009, Roy Collins was murdered at the amusement complex that he managed at Roxboro Shopping Centre.

His father Steve was working in the pub when the fatal gun attack took place.

Board members of Limerick's Regeneration Agencies approved a proposal to purchase the pub and casino at the Roxboro Shopping Centre at a meeting on November 25 last.

In documents seen by the Irish Independent, regeneration chief executive Brendan Kenny spelled out the details to buy the site at the meeting and stressed that the proposal was "very confidential" for security reasons.

Attending the meeting were 15 members of the agencies' board, including the regeneration agencies' chairman John Fitzgerald, the Chief Superintendent of the Limerick garda division Dave Sheahan, and officials from separate government departments.

Mr Kenny said that prior to their meeting, three government departments -- Finance, Justice and Environment -- were aware of the proposal before it was put to the regeneration board. He stressed to board members that confidentiality on the issue was critical for the plan to progress and for the Collins family to safely leave the country.

The €700,000 payout included legal fees and associated costs. It was also proposed at the same meeting that the acquired premises on the southside of the city be converted for community use.

The decision to buy the Steering Wheel pub emerged after officials from the regeneration agencies met with some of the country's most dangerous criminals.

Mr Kenny said they met members of the feuding Dundon and Collopy families in a bid to end violence in Limerick's deprived estates.

Meetings with the criminals ended following the murder of Shane Geoghegan in 2008 -- six months before Roy Collins was shot dead.

Amid mounting concern over the progress of the regeneration scheme, Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan last night promised a "total reorganisation of how regeneration is delivered in Limerick" as a new office takes over.

"Next month a new regeneration office will take responsibility for the project -- and its clear remit is to refocus resources on building comm- unities in the regeneration areas," she said.

"This new approach to regeneration provides a fresh start. There is a lot of blame game surrounding flaws in the past with the regeneration project. I've no interest in adding to these squabbles, I am clearly focused on the future of regeneration," she said.

Irish Independent

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