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Tributes paid to well-known solicitor for gangland figures who died suddenly

John Devane
John Devane

Tributes have been paid by colleagues and members of the judiciary to controversial Limerick solicitor John Devane, who died suddenly at the weekend.

A post mortem today revealed nothing suspicious in the solicitor's death.

Gardai said results of toxicology tests taken during the autopsy will take a number of weeks, and an inquest is likely to be held before the end of this year.

Mr Devane's remains will lay in repose at Thompson’s Funeral Home, Thomas Street, Limerick, from 5.30pm-8pm,  Wednesday, followed by removal to St Patrick’s Church, Parteen on Thursday, for Requiem Mass at 12 noon.

Burial will take place afterwards in St Brendan's Cemetery, Milltown, Dingle, Co Kerry.

Devane was a distant cousin of Hollywood actor Gregory Peck, and a lawyer for Limerick's criminal underworld.

Following his sudden death, Sunday, he was remembered Monday, by colleagues as "a one off".

A moment of silence was observed in his memory at his stomping ground, the Limerick District Court.

Leading tributes from the bench, presiding judge Marian O'Leary said she was "deeply saddened and shocked” on hearing of Devane's passing.

Despite temporarily using a wheelchair after a long battle with illness Devane, "acted in his cases, as he did with his illness – with defiance to the last," added Stephanie Power, President of the Limerick Bar Association.

Professionally, he built up a large client list of Republican dissidents, and gangland criminals.

The father-of-two represented the notorious Dundon-McCarthy criminal gang that shot dead innocent businessman Roy Collins and innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan.

The Limerick solicitor also represented members of the Keane gang; the Collopy criminal family; and the Ryan McCarthy crime gang.

Devane was never far from the headlines. He took a case against the State, on behalf of hundreds of soldiers, in the army deafness claim scheme and represented prisoners who Devane argued had their human rights breached as they were forced to "slop out" their own faeces from their jail cells.

He was held in contempt of court by former district court judge Joseph Mangan in 2003 after a heated exchange at Shannon District Court. Devane later apologised to the judge after calling him "a clown".

In 2012, Devane was found guilty of assaulting fellow solicitor, John Herbert, at Limerick District Court, on June 9, 2011.

Devane had denied grabbing Mr Herbert by the neck and attempting to head butt him. He escaped a criminal conviction in lieu of paying a €1,000 charitable donation.

Finishing her tribute at Limerick District Court, Stephanie Power said: "I think it’s safe to say we’re unlikely to come across a character as colourful as John any time in the near future."