Gang pays dissidents protection
McCarthy-Dundon group hands over cash for permission to deal drugs
ONE of the country's most feared criminal gangs has been forced to pay protection money to dissident republicans in return for being allowed to deal drugs and carry out illegal operations in Limerick.
The Irish Independent has learned that the notorious McCarthy-Dundon gang has been handing over large sums of cash to subversive elements for up to two years.
The criminal gang, which is regarded as one of the country's most dangerous, is understood to have made large payments on a regular basis under the threat of severe reprisals. It is believed that thousands of euro was handed over by gang members in some payments.
The McCarthy-Dundon gang, which is involved in a long-running bloody feud, is based in the Ballinacurra-Weston area of the city but also has members in the northside suburb of Moyross.
An informed source said the gang was allowed to continue drug dealing without fear of retribution from the dissidents once the vast sums of protection money had been paid over.
As part of an intense crackdown on organised crime following the murder of Roy Collins last year, gardai in Limerick are constantly monitoring the activities of the city's main crime gangs.
Senior members of the McCarthy-Dundon outfit have been observed in the company of dissident republicans on numerous occasions.
Those demanding the protection money are regarded as extremely dangerous individuals with criminal convictions. One individual has served a lengthy prison sentence for firearms offences.
Dissident republicans have been supplying both of the city's feuding gangs with weaponry and ammunition, including AK-47 assault rifles and pipe bombs, over the past decade.
Gardai suspect that three pipe bombs found earlier this year near Roxboro Shopping Centre were manufactured by dissident republicans who then sold them to the McCarthy-Dundons.
In recent months, the McCarthy-Dundon gang has become severely depleted following the arrest of several members. Most of the gang members are serving lengthy sentences or awaiting trial.
Amid fears of future prosecution under new legislation which made it an offence to be a member of a criminal organisation, members of the outfit have split from each other inside prison and in-fighting now prevails.
The heightened tensions have even spread outside the prison walls to their female relatives and girlfriends.
Three women connected to a highly dangerous member of the gang recently threatened a mother on the southside of Limerick following a prison fight between gang members.
As a result of a garda investigation, one woman was arrested, while another has gone on the run.
Convicted criminal and gang leader Wayne Dundon, who was released from prison in March, returned to Limerick recently for a brief visit, before going back to Britain.