| 17°C Dublin

LIMERICK CARTH-EL Gardaí identify 'Fat' John and Eds McCarthy's new Limerick gang as No.1 target outside Dublin

'Fat' John and brother Eds McCarthy return to city as alliance with the Ryan clan strengthens in newly-formed gang

Close

'Fat' John McCarthy

'Fat' John McCarthy

Kieran (Rashers) Ryan in Limerick City

Kieran (Rashers) Ryan in Limerick City

'Fat' John McCarthy (left) and Eds McCarthy (right) at the funeral of Amanda O'Donoghue, Limerick, January, 2022.

'Fat' John McCarthy (left) and Eds McCarthy (right) at the funeral of Amanda O'Donoghue, Limerick, January, 2022.

/

'Fat' John McCarthy

Limerick gangland brothers 'Fat' John and Eds McCarthy stand shoulder to shoulder with their cousin Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan forming the gang who are now the gardai's number one organised crime targets outside the capital.

'Fat' John, who has completed a lengthy prison term and brother Eds, who recently returned from Birmingham, are both back living in the Moyross Estate which was at the epicentre of underworld wars until a massive garda effort crushed the gangs.

Together with notorious criminal 'Rashers' Ryan they gathered to pay respects to pal Amanda O'Donoghue, a young mum from Hyde Road, Limerick, who passed away suddenly in recent weeks.

Gardai believe that the trio hoped to use the funeral as cover to gather and hold a mini crime summit - but instead they were captured on undercover surveillance as they met with associates and other key gang members.

Close

Kieran (Rashers) Ryan in Limerick City

Kieran (Rashers) Ryan in Limerick City

Kieran (Rashers) Ryan in Limerick City

Ten years since the crime gangs of Limerick were crushed by a mixture of Tango-style policing, in-fighting and regeneration funding, concerns are growing that the McCarthys, once underlings of the notorious Dundon brothers, are throwing their weight around once more.

Ryan, who had been lying low in the absence of his cousins, is now cutting a swagger on the city streets and was recently photographed by the Sunday World looking like he hadn't a care in the world.

As fears grow that old rivalries may drag a city back to gangland war, sources say the McCarthy-Ryan alliance is now the most powerful group in Limerick, with the Keane and Collopy factions operating as separate entities.

Eds McCarthy had been the de facto head of the grouping, while his brother, 'Fat' John, served out a lengthy prison term after he was caught with heroin.

Close

'Fat' John McCarthy (left) and Eds McCarthy (right) at the funeral of Amanda O'Donoghue, Limerick, January, 2022.

'Fat' John McCarthy (left) and Eds McCarthy (right) at the funeral of Amanda O'Donoghue, Limerick, January, 2022.

'Fat' John McCarthy (left) and Eds McCarthy (right) at the funeral of Amanda O'Donoghue, Limerick, January, 2022.

Eds took control of the wider gang and relocated to Birmingham to tighten the group's links with Kinahan mafia CEO Thomas 'Bomber' Kavanagh and his brother-in-law Liam Byrne.

Under investigation from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and the gardai, McCarthy stayed away from the city for almost five years while Ryan kept a low profile and an eye on the family business.

The Keane grouping, once deadly rivals, strengthened their hold over Limerick in the interim period and began to build up a slick money laundering operation linked to the car industry.

With the Collopy faction also weakened due to years of feuding and lengthy sentences handed down to its overlords, it looked like the Keane gang would come out on top - but the McCarthy brothers are believed to have been plotting in the background for the day they could return to their native city.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Last year, raids in Limerick involving more than 400 gardai and military personnel and targeting the re-emerging gangs led to the arrest of at least six of the most feared gangland figures in the mid west.

Key members and associates of the Keane, Collopy, Ryan and McCarthy family gangs were all targeted in the raids, along with smaller outfits aligned to them.

Among them was 'Fat' John, only released from prison, who was returned to court in contravention of local authority by-laws and accused of keeping two unlicensed horses.

The cocky mobster once told a TV documentary that prison was a 'holiday camp' and said he had no problem serving time, which was a useful resolve when he was handed 14 years for heroin trafficking following a crackdown on crime in Limerick around 2010.

That followed ten years of murder, fear and intimidation in the city in a brutal fight between the Dundon-McCarthys and the Keane-Collopys.

The Kinahan organisation had initially targeted the Keane-Collopy gangs for drugs partnerships, but in more recent times had forged strong ties with Eds McCarthy.

The pint-sized thug had been targeted by CAB - who seized a house and jewellery from him - before he moved to Birmingham and into the inner circle of Kavanagh's operation.

But hopes that McCarthy would leave the city for good were dashed when he moved back following his brother's release from jail. Both are now right back in the heart of the working class community they have terrorised for decades.

While the McCarthy and Ryan contingents have always worked closely together, it is understood that they have forged a tighter alliance than ever and that younger relatives and associates of Eddie Ryan Snr, whose murder in 2000 kicked off ten years of gang wars in the city, are now holding senior roles in the newly-emerged gang.

The Collopy outfit is spread out on the other side of Limerick and into Co Clare. While aligned to the Keane mob, headed by Christy Keane, they operate separately but have a heavy presence at the Island Field and St Mary's Park estates while the McCarthy gang members live largely around the Moyross area.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Privacy