In a separate development, solicitor John Devane revealed yesterday John Dundon, whom he represents, apologised for assaulting him at Limerick courthouse in 2009. At the time, Mr Devane refused to report the matter saying he was warned if he did, he would be a “dead man walking”.
While the McCarthy Dundon gang is now in disarray, a key figure known as ‘Mr Big’ has over the past two years built up a new drugs network, the Irish Examiner can reveal.
While part of the gang leadership, Mr Big ordered the murder of nightclub security man, Brian Fitzgerald. Mr Fitzgerald, aged 34, was shot dead outside his home in Corbally after a night’s work, in Nov 2002.
The gang leader had previously threatened Mr Fitzgerald after he refused the gang admission to a city club to sell drugs. Mr Fitzgerald made a statement to gardaí and the gang leader ordered his murder, fearing a conviction would trigger a three-year suspended jail sentence for another matter.
Two men, Garry Campion and James Martin Cahill were convicted of the murder of Brian Fitzgerald, but Mr Big escaped the net.
His partner in the drugs operation he now controls was a Limerick businessman whom gardaí linked to a number of McCarthy-Dundon murders, including those of Kieran Keane and Brian Fitzgerald but they could never get enough evidence to charge him.
Mr Big is known to have access to international gun traders and in recent years kept a low profile as the Dundons hit the headlines.
Meanwhile, key State witnesses, April Collins and her sister Lisa, are back living in Limerick where they are under 24-hour armed garda protection. Both have refused to move elsewhere under the witness protection programme. When a female reporter tried to approach April Collins yesterday, she was quickly intercepted by an undercover garda.
April Collins’ partner, Thomas O’Neill, was further remanded in custody when he was brought before Limerick District Court yesterday. He faces a theft charge. O’Neill, who is the father of April Collins’ youngest child, served a long sentence for his part in a gang rape in Cratloe Woods in 2005. April Collins also has three children with Ger Dundon.
In another development yesterday, John Dundon’s defence lawyer, John Devane, revealed that Dundon apologised to him in June 2009 after assaulting him at Limerick District Court.
Mr Devane ignored calls from the then Mayor of Limerick Kevin Kiely, and Steve Collins, whose son Roy was shot dead two months earlier, to report the assault to gardaí.
Mr Devane, at the time said he had been told by somebody outside the court he would be a “dead man walking” if he went to the gardaí. In one interview, he said: “If I go to the gardaí my security, and most of all the security of my wife, my two children and my staff, my neighbours and my friends are put in jeopardy.”
Yesterday, when pressed on the assault at Limerick court building, Mr Devane said: “There was an alleged incident which I never made a statement at the time. As a defence lawyer, I am better off to stay away from things like that.”
Further pressed on the “alleged incident” Mr Devane conceded yesterday: “There was a push. I fell back against the wall in the corridor, but that was it. We were talking two days later. He [John Dundon] came down and shook my hand and apologised, and as far as I was concerned that was the end of it, and remains the end of it.”
He said the entire legal team found Dundon “perfectly polite and courteous” during consultations for the recent trial.