Mayor Kevin Kiely said Mr Collins’s son, Roy, 34, was murdered on April 9 last because the family had simply done the right thing.
As a result of a threat issued to a cousin of Roy Collins, Ryan Lee, after Mr Lee turned a young girl away from the front door of the family-owned Pike Inn, a leading member of the McCarthy-Dundon gang got a long prison sentence. Ryan Lee was shot and badly wounded inside the bar after refusing the girl admission.
During the ceremony Mayor Kiely suggested Steve Collins did what every good and decent citizen should do and gave statements to the gardaí.
“Steve Collins and his family have been under constant threat of attacks from these criminals and I am holding this reception as a mark of solidarity with the Collins family, on behalf of myself and the people of Limerick.
“I want to send out a clear message to these criminals that they have no hand, act or part to play in the future of our city.
“Only for Steve Collins this new legislation to crack down on gangs would not have been introduced by the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern. It is now up to the gardaí to take this legislation and use every opportunity to rid the streets of Limerick of these criminal gangs.”
The mayor thanked Mr Collins and his family for their courage and commitment to Limerick.
Steve Collins went on to thanked the people of Limerick who he said have supported them through an awful time since the murder of Roy.
Mr Collins also gave his full backing to the campaign to get stronger legislation to tackle gangs.
He said: “We did not do this for awards but just to keep the memory of our son alive. I hope the changes [in the law] will come to fruition and make this city a better place.”