‘I’ll stay in city unless someone shoots me’

A businessman who has been under armed guard for over eight years says he has no intention of leaving Limerick despite the continuing threat to him and his family.

A defiant Phil Treacy, whose son Owen Treacy helped put away some of the city’s most dangerous criminals, says he has no intention of moving unless someone “shoots me”.

Mr Treacy spoke out after Steve Collins and his family were forced to leave the country because of continued intimidation. Mr Collins’s son Roy was shot dead by a member of the McCarthy/Dundon gang in 2009.

Evidence given by Owen Treacy helped put five of Limerick’s most dangerous criminals behind bars.

Phil Treacy, a baker, said: “I start work at 5am each day and I have been working all my life in the business I have built up. I will stay at this for as long as I live.

“I will stay at this unless somebody shoots me. I am not going to back off now and I did not back off eight years ago [when his son gave evidence].

“What would I do now? I don’t want to spend my days lying on a beach in Spain. I have worked all my life here in Limerick and I won’t stop now.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Limerick Regeneration bosses plan to re-open Mr Collins’s pub and his murdered son’s casino by June.

The premises, which sit side by side at the Roxboro Shopping Centre, will provide services to people on the southside of the city.

Prior to the family’s departure on Monday to an undisclosed country as part of a Garda relocation programme, the state purchased the Steering Wheel pub and the Coin Castle amusement arcade for €500,000.

“We’ll be starting work on the premises shortly,” said regeneration agency chief executive Brendan Kenny. “We’ve had conversations about it and we hope to have progress made by June.

“It’s important to give a positive signal to the public and give something back to the community.”

Commenting on the family’s decision to leave Ireland, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he hoped they could now live in peace. “Steve Collins and his family showed extraordinary courage and it’s thanks to their courage that some very dangerous people are behind bars. I wish them well in a new life. I hope they live safely and in peace and put some of the terrible tragedy that has affected their family behind them.”

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