Gardaí release man questioned over murder of Limerick crime boss

Gardaí release man questioned over murder of Limerick crime boss

The scene in Drombana, Co Limerick where Kieran Keane was murdered and Owen Treacy seriously wounded in 2003. File picture

Gardaí in Limerick have released without charge a man arrested yesterday in connection with the 2003 murder of Limerick crime boss Kieran Keane and the attempted murder of his nephew Owen Treacy.

The man, aged in his 40s, was arrested on Tuesday morning “under a warrant issued by a Judge of the District Court and was brought to Roxboro Road Garda Station, Limerick“ and “detained under the provisions of Section 42 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1999”, gardaí said.

In an updated comment this morning, gardaí said: “The man arrested yesterday, 22nd December 2020, in relation to this investigation has been released without charge and returned to the custody of the Irish Prison Service.“ 

 “A file will now be prepared for the DPP,” they said.

Abducted, stabbed and shot

Kieran Keane and Owen Treacy were abducted by members of the McCarthy-Dundon crime gang and driven to an isolated country road at Drombana, a short distance outside Limerick city.

Keane, aged 36, was shot in the head, and Mr Treacy, who received 17 stab wounds, survived after he played dead.

Mr Treacy was dumped by the gang at the side of the road, beside the body of his dead uncle, however he managed to raise the alarm at a nearby house and was rushed to hospital.

Mr Treacy was the State’s key witness in the trial of five McCarthy Dundon gang members, who were later each jailed for life for Keane’s murder and Mr Treacy’s attempted murder.

Up to 20 killed in feud

The killing was part of a series of tit-for-tat murders in a decade-long vicious feud between rival drug gangs operating from strongholds on both sides of the River Shannon in the Treaty City.

Up to 20 men were killed in the feud, which gripped Limerick City, and saw the Defence Forces, and the armed Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) deployed to flashpoint areas.

Kieran Keane and associate Philip Collopy were the chief suspects in the murder of former Keane enforcer Eddie Ryan senior.

Mr Ryan Snr was blasted to death in a hail of machine-gun fire in The Moose Bar in Limerick City in November 2000.

Gardaí believe the killing was a reprisal by the Keane drug gang after Mr Ryan snr had, days beforehand, pulled a gun on Kieran Keane‘s brother Christy Keane, but the weapon jammed.

Assassination attempts

Christy Keane, from St Mary’s Park or otherwise known as the “Island Field”, who served much of a 10-year sentence for possessing nearly €250,000 worth of cannabis in 2001, has survived a number of attempts on his life.

The most recent attempt occurred on the grounds of the University of Limerick as he was making his way to an early-morning gym session at the UL Sport Arena in 2015.

The drug gangs continue to operate but there has been a lull in slayings.

Informed sources said the rival gangs have made a “business decision” not to kill one another in order to try to operate their illicit trade below the Garda radar.

Gardai have recovered record seizures of drugs in the city and county as they continue the war on drugs.

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