By David Raleigh
A notorious Limerick killer, has awoken from a coma after he was found last Thursday "unresponsive" in his cell at Mountjoy Prison, following a suspected drugs overdose.
Gary Campion, (aged 32), who was caught with 73 bags of heroin in his cell at Limerick Prison nine years ago, woke up at the Mater Hospital this morning "better than when he went in", a prison source said.
"It's hard to kill a bad thing," the prison source added.
"He is due back in (Mountjoy) today, unless doctors say otherwise," they confirmed.
"The medical people may want to keep him in the hospital overnight just for observation but he is scheduled to go back to prison today," the source said.
Campion, from Moyross, is serving two life sentences, for the 2002 murder of innocent night club security doorman Brian Fitzgerald, and the 2006 gangland murder of "Fat Frankie" Ryan.
He was rushed by ambulance to the Mater Hospital from his cell at Mountjoy on Thursday morning.
A Garda probe, and a prison investigation, will be launched into the circumstances that led to Campion falling ill.
According to a source in the prison service, Campion was under "special observation" when he collapsed in a cell.
"We believe he received a package earlier in the week, possibly Tuesday, on a visit. It was either hidden about his person or he ingested it internally," the prison source said.
"We believe a bag of drugs may have burst inside him."
The source revealed that Campion, who has over 40 previous convictions, was being held in a "close supervision cell" when he lost consciousness.
Campion, who was the first person in Ireland to be convicted of two gangland murders in the State, was in a critical condition in hospital and placed in an induced coma by doctors.
Sources at Mountjoy jail were "shocked" today when Campion woke up apparently feeling refreshed.
"He was on his last legs. It looked so bad for him that his family were immediately notified that they may be facing his imminent departure", the source added.
Until his incarceration for murder, Campion, a father of two, was a hired hitman for feuding criminal gangs in Limerick.
He was found guilty of murdering nightclub doorman Brian Fitzgerald on November 15, 2007, and he received another life sentence on May 28, 2009, for the murder of Frank Ryan.
Brian Fitzgerald, (aged 34), was shot dead outside his home at Brookhaven Walk, Corbally, on November 29, 2002, after finishing his shift at Docs night club.
Mr Fitzgerald, who was head of security at the venue, was gunned down on the orders of the Dundon mob after refusing to allow the gang sell drugs in the club.
Campion was convicted largely on the evidence of another hitman, James Martin Cahill, who shot Mr Fitzgerald.
Cahill admitted pulling the trigger and testified that Campion drove him to and from the murder scene on a motorbike.
Cahill is also serving a life sentence for the killing.
Campion murdered his former associate Frank Ryan while they both sat in a car in Moyross on September 16, 2006.
Campion, who Gardaí regard as a psychopath, shot his former friend in the head as he sat directly behind him in the vehicle.
Campion's brother, William is currently serving life in prison for the murder of bachelor Patrick Skehan, from Bridgetown, Co Clare.
The 68-year-old farmer died in hospital after he was found beaten and unconscious, with his hands and legs bound with cable wire, and hanging upside down from the banisters.
Gary Campion's older brother Noel, (aged 34), was shot dead in April 2007 during the height of the Limerick gang feud.
In 2009 Gary Campion was given a four-year sentence at Limerick Circuit Court after he was convicted of having 73 ready-for-sale bags of heroin in his cell at Limerick Prison.