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Limerick criminal Liam Walters suspected to be behind jailhouse brawl over drugs control

The clash came after the release of brothers Kieran and Brian Collopy who controlled drugs in the prison

Liam Walters

Eamon Dillon

LIMERICK criminal Liam Walters is suspected of being behind a prison clash between rival gangs vying for control of the drugs trade behind bars.

The Criminal Assets Bureau target has now been transferred to the high-security Portlaoise Prison in a bid to defuse tensions, according to Sunday World sources.

The clash came following the release of gangsters Brian and Kieran Collopy from Limerick Prison late last year, where they had controlled the supply of illicit drugs in the prison.

The brothers, who are aligned to the Keane faction in the city, were serving sentences after being caught red-handed preparing a batch of heroin for sale.

Kieran Collopy

Brian's son Kenneth is still in the prison, serving a life sentence for the murder of Daniel Fitzgerald in 2009.

A source described how 'minions' from rival factions clashed this week in Limerick Prison, forcing prison bosses to move Walters out of the city lock-up.

Neither Walters nor Collopy were directly involved in the physical altercation and kept themselves at arm's length, it was added.

It is claimed Walters was trying to assert himself as the top-dog.

Walters was jailed last year for leading a vigilante- style attack on a house and threatening a woman.

Brian Collopy in prison

Also known as William Lyons, he admitted his role in the terrifying incident in February 2021 in which a gang of masked men forced their way into the house in Co. Limerick.

At a court hearing in Limerick, it emerged that 11 men with their faces covered arrived at the house at Cois Rioga, Caherconlish.

Some were carrying weapons, including pitchforks and hurleys, as they forced their way into the house where a number of young children were present at the time.

Walters pleaded guilty to burglary, making threats to kill and violent disorder relating to the incident after an earlier disagreement he had with the woman's partner.

He was described as directing "operations" and had threatened to return and kill the woman. Windows at the house and a car parked there were smashed by members of the gang during the attack.

Gardaí who searched Walters' home at Mount Singland in Limerick after he was identified as a suspect described it as a "fortress".

Footage taken from his home's CCTV showed the men arriving before leaving for the woman's house in two cars.

Walters had made an attempt to leave the country after the incident but was stopped at Dublin Airport because he did not have the necessary Covid-19 paperwork.

The victim of the attack rejected an offer of €10,000 in compensation and Walters was given a two-and-a-half-year sentence.

Walters previously hit the headlines in 2015 after €600,000 discovered in a property linked to him was seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

He had also been linked to a €1.5 million cash seizure found buried in a field in Castleconnell, Co. Limerick in 2013, which at the time was the biggest cash seizure in State history.

Two men were caught as they used a mechanical excavator to dig up the money, which had been buried deep underground.

A tumble dryer was being used to dry out the cash which had become soggy, leaving wads of bank notes stuck together.

The €1.5m was made up of various denominations and it took investigating gardaí two days to count the cash.

Walters was never charged in connection with the discovery of the €1.5 million cash.

Sources told the Sunday World his home in Garryowen had a hi-tech security system, a jacuzzi and bullet-proof glass.

After CAB seized a separate €600,000 stash, which Walters told officers he planned to hand over, threats were made against him by serious criminal figures.

In 2017, Walters was arrested in the Netherlands by police investigating a network they suspected of organising drugs to be shipped to Ireland.

Charges were dropped in that case.

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