Sunday 19 November 2017

Officials held meetings with feuding criminals

Barry Duggan

THE country's most dangerous criminals met with Limerick's regeneration officials on several occasions.

Limerick's Regeneration Agencies chief executive Brendan Kenny said they met feuding criminals in a bid to bring an end to violence and gangland crimes in the city.

Mr Kenny said all contact ceased following the murder of innocent rugby player, Shane Geoghegan, in November 2008.

Earlier that year, the agencies were approached by members of feuding families in a bid to bring an end to hostilities.

As a result, a series of meeting with some of the country's most feared criminals began.

Philip Collopy -- one of two gunmen who committed the bloody feud's first murder -- attended one meeting along with his criminal brothers. Philip subsequently killed himself while three brothers and a nephew have since been jailed for lengthy sentences.

Members of the Collins' family who formed part of the McCarthy-Dundon gang met officials as did one of the Mid-West's biggest drug dealers.

Prison meetings were held with Wayne Dundon and his brothers while the gang plotted the murder of Roy Collins and the botched gun attacked that led to Mr Geoghegan's murder.

Convicted drugs dealer Christy Keane was also approached in prison, as was Sean 'Cowboy' Hanley.

"It is hard to know if it made a difference. We were very conscious that no matter what we did, it would become a controversial thing," Mr Kenny said.

"There was no way regeneration could have any chance of success while that stuff was going on. I think that is what people forget."

Irish Independent

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