Saturday 16 December 2017

'An immense character' - Prominent solicitor to gangs is found dead

John Devane had health problems in recent years. Photo: Mark Condren
John Devane had health problems in recent years. Photo: Mark Condren

David Raleigh

Gardaí do not suspect foul play in the death of prominent criminal defence solicitor John Devane.

Mr Devane (54) was found dead around midday yesterday by his estranged wife Julianne Stanley at his home in Blackwater, Ardnacrusha, Co Clare, gardaí said.

His body was taken to University Hospital Limerick for a post-mortem examination.

"We do not suspect there is anything suspicious," said a Garda source. Mr Devane had represented all sides in the murderous Limerick feud, which left up to 20 men dead between the late 1990s and mid-2000s.

The father-of-two represented the notorious Dundon-McCarthy criminal gang that shot dead innocent businessman Roy Collins and innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan.

The Limerick solicitor also represented members of the Keane gang; the Collopy criminal family; and the Ryan McCarthy crime gang.

Mr Devane had suffered a number of health problems in recent years after he contracted hospital superbug MRSA.

In 2015, he underwent surgery during which he claimed he sustained a broken neck, which left him using a wheelchair for about a year. Mr Devane was also recently diagnosed with osteopenia, a disease of the bones, which led to an infection in one of his legs.

In the summer of 2016, he returned to work at Limerick District Court using a wheelchair at first, and then with the aid of crutches. Paying tribute, friends and relatives said Mr Devane will be remembered as one of the country's most controversial, yet popular, legal eagles.

In 2012, he was found guilty of assaulting rival solicitor John Herbert during an incident at Limerick District Court on June 9, 2011.

Brian O'Connor, a cousin of Mr Devane's, said: "John was an immense character, and a fiercely determined advocate of the underdog with whom he identified. He was a very loving and giving family man. We were all very proud of him."

Irish Independent

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