A GUN found near a rugby club has been positively identified as the weapon that was used to murder innocent businessman Roy Collins.
The Irish Independent has learnt that following forensic and ballistic examinations, gardai are satisfied that a Glock handgun, which was discovered in Limerick, was the firearm used to shoot the eldest son of publican Steve Collins in 2009.
The gun was found on July 28 last near Young Munster Rugby Club on the outskirts of Limerick city during a community clean-up.
The spot where the gun was found by a member of the public is near where a stolen Mercedes -- used as the getaway car -- was left to burn out.
It is understood that the weapon was in very poor condition after more than three years and no evidence of who handled it prior to the murder could be established.
Roy Collins (35) was shot dead in his casino by James Dillon (23) on April 9, 2009, four years after members of the Collins family testified against feared criminal, Wayne Dundon.
In the days after the murder, extensive searches were carried out by gardai in the Rosbrien area of Limerick for the gun, but it was not found.
Dillon was arrested by gardai hours after Mr Collins was targeted and during his 26th interview admitted he had shot the innocent father. Dillon is serving a life sentence for the murder.
However, officers in Limerick are hopeful of bringing a prosecution against another well-known criminal in the city who was Dillon's getaway driver.
Earlier this year, Steve Collins and his family moved abroad as they felt they were left with no option as they lived under constant threat of attack.
However, Mr Collins has vowed to return to the State for any future trials regarding his son's murder.