Shooting of Christy Keane linked to murder over a decade ago
The attempted murder of Limerick gang boss Christy Keane is believed to have been ordered by associates of a former close ally who was murdered 15 years ago.
There are real fears that gangland violence in the city could reignite after the daring attack near the University of Limerick Sports Arena at 6.40am yesterday.
Keane (55) was shot four times in the chest and arms by two masked and armed men who opened fire with automatic handguns.
Sources said that the gangster was in a stable condition and has spoken with gardaí.
The Irish Independent understands that detectives believe the attack was organised by members of the gang controlled by the late Eddie Ryan's two sons. Edward and Kieran Ryan are said to have sworn vengeance for their father's murder in November 2000.
The murder of their father, a former close ally and enforcer for Christy Keane, took place two days after he had tried to shoot Keane but his gun jammed.
His shooting in the Moose Bar in the city centre was carried out by Keane's brother Kieran and another associate Philip Collopy - both of whom have since died violently.
Sources revealed that the hit team purposely burned out one of the getaway cars used after the attack on a country road at Drombana, outside the city, which is the same spot where Kieran Keane was murdered by the Dundon/McCarthy/Ryan gang in 2003.
Gardaí say they believe that Keane was lucky to have survived yesterday's attack and described it as well-planned.
A source said: "This was well-planned and it is clear that they intended killing Christy. He was very lucky that he survived and that was due to his level of fitness."
Sources have also revealed that one line of enquiry being pursued last night was that the attack was planned to coincide with the release from prison in August of Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan after serving a sentence for possession of a firearm.
His brother Edward was recently released after also serving a sentence for the same offence.
Extra armed patrols as well as the Regional Support Unit (RSU) were again being deployed on the streets of Limerick last night as gardaí moved to prevent another outbreak of the gang warfare that claimed over 20 lives over a 10-year period.
Gardaí fear that Keane's gang will now seek revenge for the attack which could escalate the violence.