Limerick gang man survives attempt to kill him

A major figure connected with a feud of Limerick drugs gangs has survived a further attempt on his life, it emerged yesterday.

An attack was carried out on the home of Sean “Cowboy” Hanley when up to six shots were fired into the sitting room from a Glock semi-automatic handgun.

Mr Hanley and a number of others, including children, were not injured following the attack last week. One man has been arrested and charged with a firearms offence. The incident occurred last Tuesday but was only made pubic yesterday.

Two years ago, the intended victim required major surgery for injuries sustained after a bomb attack. A booby trap device had been placed under a car parked at a house he lived in, at that time, in Co Offaly. When he opened the car door, the bomb detonated.

He was rushed to hospital and had surgery for the removal of shrapnel from his stomach. Some members of the Keane Collopy gang based in St Mary’s Park, Limerick were suspected of carrying out the attack.

Over 15 years ago, Mr Hanley had reportedly formed a strong alliance with the McCarthy-Dundon gang and the Ryan brothers, Kieran and “Eds”. Their father, Eddie Ryan, was murdered in November 2000 in the Moose Bar, Cathedral Place, Limerick. That gun attack was carried out by rivals Kieran Keane and Philip Collopy, both of whom subsequently died violently.

Kieran Keane was abducted with his cousin Owen Treacy and shot dead on a country road on the outskirts of Limerick. He had been tricked into a double cross in which he went on a mission thinking it would lead to the murder of the Ryan brothers for €60,000. Philip Collopy accidentally shot himself in the head with a Glock in 2009.

Mr Hanley, now aged 58, got his nickname “Cowboy” as he had been a well-known cattle dealer in the Limerick area. In 2001, over €1m worth of ecstasy was seized in a property connected to him on the outskirts of Limerick city. A son, Brian, and another man had been arrested at the scene.

Later that year, Brian Hanley was stabbed to death in an incident in Limerick. In 2008, Mr Hanley was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after €88,000 worth of drugs had been found in his car when stopped by a drugs squad unit at Mountrath, Co Laois. On appeal, the sentence had been reduced.

In 2007, at Limerick Circuit Court, Judge Carroll Moran had directed a jury to find him not guilty of assaulting a woman while trespassing at her home. Four State witnesses failed to identify Mr Hanley in court, although they named him in signed statements to gardaí during an investigation. Previous, he was charged with possession of a knife and a baseball bat at Cliona Park, Moyross, with intent to cause harm but was found not guilty.

Reportedly connected to the McCarthy-Dundon gang, it is believed that the Keane/Collopy gang have a contract out on Mr Hanley’s life after the attempt on the life of a leading member of their gang in Limerick recently, carried out by Dublin-based criminals with ties to a paramilitary grouping.

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