Infamous thug released from prison

Anthony 'Shooter' McDonagh
Anthony 'Shooter' McDonagh

INFAMOUS traveller hardman Anthony ‘Shooter’ McDonagh has been released from prison.

The Galway-based thug has finished serving an eight-year-sentence for blasting off a man’s thumb with a shotgun.

McDonagh was jailed for eight years after a trial in which he denied being the masked shooter who left then 26-year-old Martin Ward with serious injuries.

The victim had been sitting in a van with a friend while another delivered takeaway food to a house at Whitestrand Road. A masked man armed with a shotgun appeared at the driver’s door and told him he was “going to get it”.

The point-blank blast hit Ward in the hand, stomach and leg. His thumb was blown off and his index finger was left hanging off. Surgeons later removed the finger and used it to replace his thumb, leaving him with a grossly deformed hand.

Ward, who said in court he knew his attacker all his life, was able to identify McDonagh.

He denied the shotgun attack, but a man who provided him with an alibi later admitted under oath that he had made a false statement to the Gardaí.

The witness said in court he had done so in order to protect his wife and family. McDonagh had turned up at his house shortly after the attack and asked him to burn out a car.

It was claimed that the animosity between McDonagh and Ward began over a children’s squabble two years before the attack

After a seven-day trial at Galway Circuit Court a jury unanimously found him guilty of all charges.

McDonagh got a brief taste of freedom a few weeks ago when he was allowed out temporarily for his daughter’s wedding.

Shooter had been granted temporary release despite a previous decision not to release him for his mother’s funeral.

Among the guests at a reception afterwards was Limerick gangland figure Anthony Kelly, whose son is married to another daughter of McDonagh.

Members of the Armed Response Unit were on hand as guests arrived at the church ahead of the nuptials in Galway city.