Two brothers who ran one of the most notorious criminal gangs in Limerick, have today pleaded guilty to drugs offences, which carry mandatory minimum 10-year jail sentences writes David Raleigh.
Brian and Kieran Collopy pleaded guilty before Limerick Circuit Court to possession of an estimated €50,000 worth of heroin which was to be sold on the streets of their native city.
The Keane/Collopy gang have been in transition over the last few years - some of their senior players have been shot or jailed.
The subsequent gap left by the St Mary's Park-based gang has been taken up by a new generation of gangland criminals.
Brian and Kieran Collopy learned today they will be sentenced on May 13 next, for possessing €50,000 worth of heroin for sale or supply.
Both were remanded in custody after they each pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing heroin at a house in St Mary's Park, Limerick, on December 15, last year.
The siblings were caught red-handed cutting up heroin on a kitchen table, when armed gardaí raided the house.
The garda raid by was a major blow to the Collopy drug business, and sources now believe their demise is imminent as long-term sentences hang over them.
The Collopy's cousins, the Keanes, have been regrouping after its most senior member Christy Keane was seriously wounded in a gun attack last year.
Mr Keane was shot a number of times at close range last June as he made his way to a gym session at the University of Limerick.
In 2001, Keane, 55, served seven years of a 10-year jail term for possession of €250,000 worth of cannabis.
While Christy was in jail, his younger bother Kieran - who along with his cousin Philip Collopy murdered Eddie Ryan Snr - was abducted, tortured, and shot in the head, in January 2003.
Christy's nephew, Owen Treacy, was also abducted in the same incident and repeatedly stabbed.
Treacy, who survived, later gave evidence for the State in the trial of five members of the Dundon McCarthy gang, who were given two life sentences for Keane's murder and Treacy's attempted murder.
Christy Keane's son, Liam was released from jail last month, after serving part of a 10-year sentence for possession of a loaded pistol.
He is believed to have travelled to Spain where his father thought to be residing after surviving the attempted murder hit on him last summer.