NewsCrime Desk

Gangland-linked criminal not allowed to attend mother's funeral over feud fears

Anthony 'Shooter' McDonagh
Anthony 'Shooter' McDonagh

A traveller criminal didn't attend his mother's funeral this week because of fears his pres­ence at the ceremony could spark violence.

Anthony 'Shooter' McDonagh's hopes for temporary release from pris­on were dashed because of concerns it could reignite a feud in Galway, according to sources.

The 48-year-old, who is a former champion power-lifter, is coming to the end of a 12-year jail sentence for blowing away part of man's hand in a gun attack in Galway city.

But despite the fact he is near the end of his sentence, when inmates are typically grant­ed temporary release, McDonagh's appeal to attend his mother's funeral was refused, said sources.

"This man represented Ireland as a weight­lifter and he trained in martial arts - a lot of travellers in Galway are frightened of him," a source told the Sunday World.

McDonagh, who has links to Limerick gangland figure Anthony Kelly, is also feared to have made more gangster contacts in jail.

The father-of-five said at one bail hearing before his trial that he was one of the best weightlifters in the world and was willing to "pay down big money cash" for bail.

He is expected to be released with remission in the coming weeks from Loughan House.

"There will be people moving out of Galway if he comes back here," a source added,

McDonagh was jailed eight years after a trial in which he denied shooting the then 26-year-old Martin Ward.

The victim had been sitting in a van with a friend while another delivered takeaway food to a house at Whitestrand Road.

A man wearing a balaclava and carrying a shotgun appeared at the driver's door and told him he was "going to get it".

The point-bank blast hit Ward in the hand, stomach and leg, leaving him with serious injuries. His thumb was blown off and his index finger was hanging off, which surgeons later used to replace his thumb, leaving him with a deformed hand.

Ward, who knew his attacker all his life, was able to identify him and was arrested by gardai just hours after the attack.

McDonagh denied the shooting but a man who provided him with an alibi later admitted under oath that he had made false statement.

He claimed he had done so to protect his family after McDonagh asked him to mind a bag with the shotgun and also to burn out a car.

It was claimed the animosity between Mc­Donagh and Ward began over a children's schoolyard squabble two years previously.