Armed units on alert amid fears of killing reprisal

ARMED Garda units were on high alert last night in Limerick amid fears of more bloodshed following the latest feud murder.

Gardaí suspect the McCarthy Dundon gang shot dead Mark Moloney, 40.

He died in a hail of gunfire on Saturday afternoon near his home in Garryowen as he went to back a horse in the Grand National.

Mr Moloney was not involved in any feud activity, but it is believed he was gunned down for the simple reason he was friendly with an associate of the Keane Collopy gang.

State pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy yesterday carried out a postmortem at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

Mr Moloney narrowly escaped death last January when he and his nephew Jonathan Fitzgerald were fired at as they walked near the city centre on a busy Friday afternoon. Mr Fitzgerald survived serious wounds and one bullet ripped through the coat Mr Moloney was wearing.

Mr Moloney was shot dead because he socialised with a man linked to the Keane Collopy gang, believed to have carried out the murder of Noel Crawford in Southill in December 2006. Mr Crawford, who had no criminal involvement, was mistaken for his brother Paul, a known associate of the McCarthy Dundons.

Mr Moloney, who was single, lived with his mother at Claughaun Road, Garryowen. It is believed he was giong to a bookies shop to back a horse in the Aintree Grand National at about 2.45pm and stopped to talk with a local man who was on a ladder painting.

A black two-door Toyota Celica stopped and a front-seat passenger opened fire. There were three people in the car, which sped off towards the Ballysimon Road. Some local reports claim the car was driven by a woman.

Mr Moloney died instantly. One source said: “He was riddled with bullets.”

The car, with Tipperary South number plates, was later found burnt out at Drombana on the outskirts of the city at a location close to where five McCarthy Dundon gang members murdered gang rival Kieran Keane in January 2003.

Keane’s widow, Sophie, lives near the scene of Saturday’s murder and her house has been targeted by the McCarthy Dundon gang.

Insp John O’Reilly said: “We would like to hear from anybody who was in the Garryowen area on Saturday between 2pm and 3pm and may have seen this black Toyota. It was a flashy car with pop-up lights and 10-spoke alloy wheels and rear spoilers. We would also like to hear from anybody who may have seen this car on the Bruff/Kilmallock road. Henry Street’s phone number is 061 212400.”

The McCarthy Dundon gang have ratcheted up their campaign of violence in recent weeks and were responsible for the machine- gun attack on houses in St Mary’s Park two weeks ago.

Some of the six houses raked with gunfire were occupied by members of the Collopy family.

Following that attack, Justice Minister Brian Lenihan, came to Limerick for a top-level Garda briefing on crime in the city. Following that meeting Mr Lenihan said the situation in Limerick was a tinderbox.

Gardaí in Limerick are investigating another shooting at 5.50am on Saturday when a man armed with a handgun broke into a house and shot at the owner.

He escaped uninjured. A man was being questioned at Roxboro Road yesterday.

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