A court case in which an Egyptian was jailed for three years at Limerick Circuit Court last Friday has uncovered a new and sinister chapter in the notorious Limerick feud, with one gang forging links to a deadly Middle Eastern oufit.
It began when a plot by the notorious McCarthy-Dundon gang to murder a member of the rival Keane-Collopy gang on June 14 last was foiled through exhaustive work by gardaí.
Gardaí believe three men they arrested that day were part of the plot to murder a member of the Keane-Collopy gang.
One of them, Egyptian Ebrihme Hassan, a 36-year-old unemployed former chef, was jailed at Limerick Circuit Court when he pleaded guilty to possessing a powerful, loaded, semi-automatic handgun fitted with a silencer on the day.
There is no suggestion that Ebrihme Hassan knew what the gun was being brought to Limerick for.
But it has now emerged that a Lebanese man arrested in Limerick that day was questioned last month in Dublin in connection with the murder of the 28-year-old mother-of-two, Ms Saulite. Hassan, a heroin addict, claimed he had agreed to collect the gun in Limerick for a Dublin drugs gang dealer in order to pay off a €1,000 drugs debt he owed.
Although this explanation was not challenged in court, gardaí describe it as a ‘cock and bull’ story and suspect that the gun had in fact been brought from Dublin to Limerick for use in an attack on a member of the Keane-Collopy gang, based in St Mary’s.
But a Lebanese man arrested with him and who was not charged is a known associate of Hassan Hassan, also Lebanese, the gang leader whose wife Baiba was shot dead at her home in North Dublin last November.
He was not charged after the Limerick arrest operation as gardaí could not link him directly to the gun which Ebrihme Hassan was seen placing in the glove compartment of a car at Edward Street around midday on June 14 last.
This man and Ebrihme Hassan had travelled to Limerick from Dublin earlier on June 14 in a Ford Galaxy, which was hired in Dublin.
As gardaí had clear evidence of seeing Ebrihme Hassan handling the gun, he was the only one of the three present charged.
Gardaí suspect that the McCarthy Dundon gang may have been involved in some way in the subsequent murder of Baiba Saulite at her home in Swords as a pay-back for the assistance they got from known associates of Hassan Hassasn in the, albeit failed, murder plot in Limerick seven months earlier.