NewsCrime Desk

Gardai fear gangland feud will kick off after Rashers’ release

Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan (In white)
Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan (In white)

GARDAI are bracing themselves for an upsurge in gangland tensions following the prison release of feared Limerick criminal Kieran ‘Rashers’ Ryan.

The 31-year-old is scheduled to walk free from the Midlands Prison tomorrow morning after serving five years of an eight-year sentence for gun possession.

Ryan was moved from Shelton Abbey open prison in Wicklow back to the Midlands Prison on July 4 – five days after feud rival Christy Keane miraculously escaped death in a shooting in the city.

Christy Keane

Keane (55), was shot four times in the chest and arms after being targeted by two masked men who opened fire with automatic handguns near the University of Limerick Sports Arena at 6.40am.

Kieran Ryan is regarded as a significant player in the 10-year feud that plunged Limerick into a bloody gang war.

He was jailed for eight years in July 2010 for possession of a Browning semi-automatic pistol and 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition at Carrigmartin, Ballyneety, the previous May.

His brother Eddie Ryan, of College Avenue, Moyross, was also given a six-year sentence.

Eddie Ryan, mum Mary and Kieran

The court heard that Kieran Ryan drove his Toyota Avensis to Ballyneety, six miles from Limerick, to pick up the firearm, which had been placed in a field.

Gardaí witnessed the men retrieve a package from the field and they later forced
Ryan’s car to stop as it returned to Limerick.

The court heard there was a collision between the Avensis and a garda vehicle and one of the officers received a serious injury.

The package found in the rear of the car contained the high-powered pistol and 15 rounds of ammunition.

Kieran Ryan attempted to take sole responsibility for the items when questioned.

Prosecution counsel John Sullivan said Kieran Ryan had a previous conviction for violent disorder when two rival feuding factions clashed.

When he asked Detective Garda Padraig O’Dwyer if the weapons offence was part of the ongoing feud that had, at that time, claimed 15 lives in Limerick, defence counsel objected, saying there was no evidence to back it up.

Anthony Sammon, counsel for Kieran Ryan, said the accused had gone off the rails after his father Eddie was shot dead in the Moose Bar in Limerick in November 2000.

His shooting was carried out by Christy Keane’s brother Kieran and another associate Philip Collopy – both since deceased.

Kieran Keane was murdered in 2003 by five associates of the Ryan brothers when he was lured to a lethal double-cross along with his nephew Owen Treacy.

Keane was stabbed and shot after he fell foul of a devious trap, where he believed he was paying €60,000 to have Eddie and Kieran ‘Rashers’ Ryan, murdered.

Eddie and Kieran were the alleged victims of a kidnapping in January 2003, but turned up hours after Kieran Keane was abducted and shot dead on the outskirts of the city.

Owen Treacy survived the double-cross despite sustaining 17 stab wounds and being left for dead at the murder scene.