NewsCrime Desk

Two Limerick crime families on brink of all-out war

Paul Curtin was caught up in the incident
Paul Curtin was caught up in the incident

Two dangerous crime families caught up in Limerick’s underworld are on the brink of all-out war after a tense stand-off at a funeral.

Members of the Curtin and Collopy clans clashed recently in a confrontation that threatened to break out into serious violence.

“Two individuals got into each other’s faces and it got to the point where guns were going to be pulled,” according to a source.

However, since the incident occurred last month, both sides backed off and the gangsters have observed an uneasy truce.

Convicted gangster Paul Curtin was caught up in the incident along with Jonathon Collopy, in a stand-off that threatened to spill over into a wider feud.

Curtin has previously been jailed for his part in a shooting incident in which a young girl was accidentally hit with shotgun pellets.

His brother Christopher, who was also jailed in the same incident, operates a significant criminal gang in the city.

Collopy also has convictions for drugs offences and was arrested in Bulgaria in 2012 at a Black Sea resort before retuning to Limerick.

Sources said the row between the clans started a number of years ago over claims that one side didn’t pay for a consignment of drugs.

Christy Curtin and Brian Collopy once fought each other in the visiting room in Limerick jail over the same dispute.

The latest tension comes as Gardaí continue their investigation into the attempted murder of mob boss Christy Keane, who survived being shot four times last June.

Senior figures in the infamous McCarthy clan are suspected to have ordered the hit on their old rival after years of relative calm.

Fears remain the attempted killing could reignite the lethal feud between the Keane and McCarthy factions.

The Collopys have previously been aligned with the Keanes, but the bond has loosened in recent years, even though one of the brothers is married to Christy Keane’s daughter.

In recent times a number of significant players from the crime clan have been arrested and charged with separate offences and are currently on remand behind bars.

The Collopys were also weakened by the death of gang enforcer Philip, who accidentally shot himself in 2009 while showing off a 9mm Glock pistol.

The 29-year-old, who was obsessed with guns, was the family hardman.

Despite their reputation, the Collopys would be foolhardy to take on a feud with the Curtin family, according to sources.

Christopher Curtin is well-known as being a serious gangster who once did business with the McCarthy-Dundons.

Two years ago members of the clan were the targets of a huge operation by Gardaí in a series of raids on the city’s outskirts.

A number of drug caches seized by Gardaí, each worth in excess of €200,000, have been linked to criminal members of the Curtin clan.