Feuding gang split sparks fears of 'tit-for-tat' attacks
GARDAI are bracing themselves for a war of attrition as one of the country's most notorious criminal gangs threatens to implode.
Fears are mounting that there will be several reprisals after a serious split in the notorious Limerick-based McCarthy-Dundon gang.
Gardai are on the alert after a clash between two key figures at the weekend which left one dangerous criminal with a serious injury.
The row broke out after a garda seizure of a haul of explosives destined for the outfit.
The criminal gang is now deeply divided after one senior gang member, who was recently released from prison, assaulted his cousin -- who is also heavily involved in organised crime -- leaving him with a deep laceration to the head.
The two cousins fought in a house in the Hyde Road area of the city on Sunday night.
The 24-year-old injured man is a close associate of Anthony 'Noddy' McCarthy, who was convicted of the gangland murder of Kieran Keane in 2003.
It is believed that he was struck with a bottle from behind by his assailant.
His attacker, who is 21 years old, is under constant surveillance by gardai and is at the centre of a number of ongoing investigations. He is a close ally of Dessie Dundon, who was convicted of the Keane murder.
The injured man had to have staples inserted inhis head, but left the A&E department of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital when gardai arrived.
A spokeswoman for the HSE confirmed that the injured man left the hospital of his own accord at 11.50pm on Sunday.
After the violent incident his home on the city's southside was vandalised, along with two vehicles. Windows in the house were broken and there was substantial damage to parked vehicles. It is understood that a large group of associates witnesses both the assault and vandalism.
The fracas between the two gang members occurred after gardai in Galway recovered 17.5kg of commercial explosives.
Investigating officers believe the cache was destined for use by the McCarthy-Dundon gang.
The gang already suffered a major split this year after the murder of James Cronin (20) last April.
Cronin, who was an associate of leading members of the gang, was murdered amid fears he would provide crucial evidence to gardai on the drive-by murder of Mark Moloney (40) on April 5.
Meanwhile, gardai have recorded a major decrease in shooting incidents in the city as the Emergency Response Unit and extra gardai patrol trouble spots.
During the first eight months of this year, gardai investigated 29 incidents where firearms were illegally discharged. In the same period last year, there were 59 incidents.
In 2004, Chief Supt Gerry Kelly revealed that a third of all shooting incidents which took place in the State occurred in Limerick. However, that figure has dropped significantly since then.
Chief Supt Willie Keane attributed the drop in shooting incidents to a number of factors.
"We have got almost 100 extra gardai here in the last year and there is a highly visible presence of gardai in the city. Another aspect is the availability of the ERU and we have had a number of very successful detections of people found in the city with firearms," Supt Keane said.
Last year, there were 99 reported shooting incidents in the city, compared to 86 in 2006 and 84 in 2005. And 46 guns have been seized by gardai to date this year, while 85 were recovered during all of last year.