A DEFIANT Limerick bakery owner, who gave an exclusive interview to the Irish Examiner earlier this week about his life driving a bread van with armed protection, has said it would be too risky for him to accept an invitation to go on the Late Late Show.
Phil Treacy has lived under the threat of death since his son’s court evidence helped jail five members of the notorious McCarthy/Dundon family. He said he will not be driven out of business by the gang.
But he said: “The media have been on to me — they even wanted me on The Late Late Show ... Sure I can’t even go across the road, never mind going to Dublin.”
Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea said yesterday he doesn’t blame people for the fear that surrounds giving evidence in Limerick crime cases.
Mr O’Dea made his comments when signing a book of condolences opened at Limerick City Hall by Mayor John Gilligan for murdered businessman Roy Collins.
“I’ve been told on quite a few occasions, up to and including quite recently, that people would love to give evidence in certain cases, but are simply afraid to do so. This view has been communicated to me at my weekend clinics by certain people whom I don’t blame for being afraid,” he said.
He said he would urge everybody to help the gardaí put criminals away.
“But I can quite understand people’s sense of fear, particularly in view of recent events,” said Mr O’Dea.
The brother of Roy Collins, Stephen, and his cousin, Ryan Lee, were among hundreds of people who signed books of condolence.
In poignant handwritten messages, Stephen wrote: “RIP, brother. Never forget you and always miss you.”
Ryan Lee wrote: “RIP, brother, Love you always.”
Meanwhile, a Garda spokesman said a .22 rifle and components of a long-barrelled gun found in searches yesterday are not linked to the murder.
Gardaí suspect that Mr Collins was targeted by the McCarthy/Dundon gang because his cousin Ryan Lee gave evidence at a trial in 2005 which resulted in gang member Wayne Dundon being jailed for 10 years at Limerick Circuit Court.
The sentence was reduced to seven years in February 2008 by the Court of Criminal Appeal.
Meanwhile, a number of people are expected to be charged today in connection with the murder of Mr Collins.
Mr Collins, 35, was shot and fatally wounded when working in the family pub and games arcade premises at Roxboro Shopping centre last Thursday.
Two men arrested the same day have been held in custody at Henry Street and Roxboro Road Garda Stations under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act.
A woman in her 20s, arrested on Tuesday, was being held at Mayorstone Garda Station.
Limerick District Court granted two orders on Saturday and Tuesday last extending the period of detention of the two men, aged 19 and 23.
The period of detention under the act expires today.
Chief Supt John Kerin, who applied for the extension orders, told Tuesday’s special court sitting that a significant development in the murder investigation had “copperfastened” his belief that the two men in custody could be linked to the murder.
Up to 100 gardaí again took part in searches for the murder weapon over wide areas to the south of the city, along the route the getaway car used when it travelled between Roxboro Shopping Centre and Ballyclough.
Roadside fields were searched, along with hedgerows and ditches.
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