Thursday, 22 January 2009

Limerick gangs have escalated the gang war after a series of arson attacks in which four vehicles have been destroyed.

Limerick criminal gangs have escalated after a series of arson attacks in which four vehicles have been destroyed.Just a month before Christy Keane -- a leading crime figure in the Keane gang -- is released from prison, gardai in the city are on high alert after arson attacks on vehicles belonging to four of his relatives.The 48-year-old is due to be freed from the Midlands prison in mid-February and the feud, which was just beginning when he was jailed in 2001, shows no sign of cooling on the eve of his release.Last year, chief executive of Limerick's regeneration agencies, Brendan Kenny, tried to initiate peace talks following a lull in the feud, but it is clear that old wounds continue to fester following a succession of arson attacks in St Mary's Park last weekend.On Sunday night, a 2008-registered Range Rover was found burnt out following an attack in the coal yard where it was parked. The vehicle, owned by Keane's nephew, Owen Treacy, is estimated to have been worth over €70,000
Treacy was abducted with his uncle, Kieran Keane, in 2003 by the McCarthy-Dundon gang. His uncle was shot dead while Treacy was stabbed repeatedly.Treacy's sisters' car, a Peugeot 306, has also been burned out.Also at the weekend, the 2005-registered Volkswagen Passat belonging to a family member was destroyed.Arsonists also gutted the 2004-registered Toyota Avensis belonging to a female member of the family. The damage to the vehicles is in excess of €100,000, but it is the repercussions that may be inflicted upon the culprits that worry authorities most in Limerick. As far as officers are concerned, the arson attacks are a direct message to the original crime chief of Limerick gangs that his enemies are ready and waiting for his release.Christy Keane (48), who comes out of prison a grandfather, will have to return to jail if he wants to see his only son, Liam, who was yesterday jailed for the same period his father received -- 10 years.

Liam Keane was arrested last May after driving a stolen car with a loaded Glock handgun which had been used to shoot McCarthy-Dundon gang member, Jimmy Collins less than a fortnight beforehand.
When interviewed by gardai, Liam Keane was asked why did the gangs hate each other so much and replied: "That's life, that's the way it goes."Liam Keane told officers he picked the gun up in a field, "out the Ballysimon way", and had it because of the way his uncle, Kieran Keane, ended up.Already some of Christy Keane's closest neighbours are fearing his release and have sold their homes. Fine Gael councillor Diarmuid Scully told a meeting of Limerick City Council's economic and planning committee that two homes in Lynwood Park, Singland, have been sold by residents ahead of Christy Keane's return.
Mr Scully urged the Criminal Assets Bureau to examine whether the home was bought with the proceeds of crime.On top of this, detectives in the city this week uncovered further links between some of country's most dangerous criminals and the Keane and Collopy gangs based in St Mary's Park with the arrest of a major convicted criminal from Dublin.


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