The jailing of almost 60 key figures in Limerick’s notorious gangs, coupled with in-fighting among active gang members, has led to a significant decrease in crime in the city, according to a senior garda.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Chief Superintendent David Sheahan said the McCarthy-Dundon and Keane-Collopy gangs have been “fractured”.
The success against the gangs in Limerick has been mirrored around the country as figures show:
* 259 members of organised crime gangs nationwide were arrested last year;
* €69m of drugs seized and €500,000 in cash confiscated;
* The Criminal Assets Bureau took in €4m in tax payments from gang bosses and secured almost €3m from the sale of criminal assets;
* The Organised Crime Unit conducted 400 operations against major gangs in 2011, resulting in the seizure of €1.4m worth of drugs and €2.5m worth of contraband cigarettes;
* The Garda National Drugs Unit made 116 arrests in relation to drug trafficking last year, with 80 charges brought. The unit made 67 significant seizures;
* In 2011, 572 cannabis grow houses were dismantled and €10.5m worth of cannabis plants seized;
* More than 680 intelligence reports on organised crime were made in 2011.
Meanwhile, gardaí in Dublin were in discussions with the DPP last night in relation to four remaining suspects in a bid to bring charges of membership of an illegal organisation against some of the 17 people arrested in connection with paramilitary displays at the funeral of murdered Real IRA boss Alan Ryan.
In Limerick, all but a few of the leaders of the McCarthy-Dundons, once one of the most feared gangs in the country, are now in jail.
At the height of the feud involving the McCarthy-Dundons and their sworn rivals, the Keane-Collopys, Limerick accounted for almost one third of all shootings in the State, with 103 gun attacks in 2007.
As a result of intense Garda operations, this figure fell to 15 shootings in the city last year. This year, to date, there have been four.
Chief Supt Sheahan said: “A major development over the past two years has been the fracturing of the gangs, particularly the McCarthy-Dundon gang. That has seen the break-up of the gang away from the McCarthy-Ryan gang in Moyross and also away from the Collinses in Ballinacurra Weston.
“That has reduced the capability of these gangs to operate within the city. The Keane-Collopy gang in St Mary’s Park has been seriously depleted and the main figureheads have been jailed for long periods, and that has reduced their capability to have a significant effect on serious crime in the Limerick area. Of the McCarthy-Dundon grouping, nearly all bar one or two are in custody.”
The McCarthy-Ryan faction, strong allies of the McCarthy-Dundons, suffered a huge blow earlier this year when their main figure, “Fat” John McCarthy was jailed for 14 years for running a heroin-processing factory.
“A lot of the gang-related matters are going before the Special Criminal Court and the DPP has taken a strong line now that a lot of our cases go to this court,” added Chief Supt Sheahan.
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