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Coffee and crim Limerick mobster Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan eyes comeback despite major Garda crackdown

The shocking truth of how ruthless criminals whose crazed feuds tormented an entire city are back as gardai ramp up their war on gangs

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Kieran ‘Rashers’ Ryan

Kieran ‘Rashers’ Ryan

Kieran ‘Rashers’ Ryan

This is Garda target Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan - strolling with a coffee in hand in Limerick as if he hasn't a care in the world, despite a major crackdown on criminal gangs in his native city.

Ryan - who was jailed for eight years in 2010 for having a loaded gun, along with his brother Eddie Ryan Jnr, who was sentenced to six years for the same charge - is just one of the many gangland figures making a terrifying comeback in a city still scarred from organised crime.

Despite his casual demeanour those who know him say he has a fresh confidence in recent years thanks to the rising fortunes of his associates.

'Rashers' (37) and Eddie came to prominence when their father Eddie Snr was shot dead in 2000, sparking 10 years of bloodshed in the Munster region.

He was with his dad in the Moose Bar in the city on the night of the murder.

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Rashers with brother Eddie after they were released by their ‘kidnappers’ during the feud

Rashers with brother Eddie after they were released by their ‘kidnappers’ during the feud

Rashers with brother Eddie after they were released by their ‘kidnappers’ during the feud

It emerged that the Keane and Collopy gangs collaborated in the killing after Christy Keane survived an attempt on his life, which Eddie Snr had been blamed for.

After a series of petrol bomb attacks and murder attempts during the feud, the Dundon brothers - Wayne, John and Dessie - elbowed their way in, pretending they weren't aligned to the Ryans but all the while planning one of gangland's most spectacular double crosses.

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Kieran ‘Rashers’ Ryan strolls in Limerick as gardaí crack down on the criminality in the city

Kieran ‘Rashers’ Ryan strolls in Limerick as gardaí crack down on the criminality in the city

Kieran ‘Rashers’ Ryan strolls in Limerick as gardaí crack down on the criminality in the city

 

In 2003 Rashers, then aged 19, and Eddie Jnr, 20, went missing and were reported to have been abducted in Ballynanty by masked men. Informed sources later said the Dundons set up the 'kidnapping' for Kieran Keane, who feared Eddie Snr's sons would try to avenge his death whatever the cost.

Seven days after the brothers went missing Keane and his nephew, Owen Treacy, were also kidnapped - believing they were going to witness the execution of Eddie Ryan Snr's sons. Instead, they were beaten and brought to a country lane where Keane was stabbed and shot. Treacy miraculously survived, despite being stabbed 17 times, by playing dead.

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Eddie Ryan Snr who was shot dead in the Moose Bar in a gangland revenge attack

Eddie Ryan Snr who was shot dead in the Moose Bar in a gangland revenge attack

Eddie Ryan Snr who was shot dead in the Moose Bar in a gangland revenge attack

Later that day the Ryan brothers walked into a midlands Garda station and claimed they had been freed by their abductors. Dessie Dundon,

David Stanners, James McCarthy, Christopher Costelloe and Anthony McCarthy were all ­given life sentences for the murder of Keane and ­attempted murder of Treacy.

A series of tit-for-tat murders followed as the gang feuds raged but when the Ryan brothers were jailed in 2010, a Garda crackdown was putting an end the violence, and it swept up the main protagonists including Wayne and John Dundon.

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Gardaí at the site of the murder of Kieran Keane

Gardaí at the site of the murder of Kieran Keane

Gardaí at the site of the murder of Kieran Keane

 

Since then, hundreds of millions of euro have been pumped into underprivileged areas which were breeding grounds for criminal gangs - but experts admit that familial ties to feuding and criminality are far more difficult to break.

It has also been suggested that in recent years the feuding gangs made a pact to stop the killing in order to get back to the business of drug dealing.

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Owen Treacy

Owen Treacy

Owen Treacy

The Keane and Collopy gangs now operate ­separately but remain loyal to each other, though they are different financially. The Ryan brothers are still tight with their cousins Fat 'John' McCarthy and his brother Eds McCarthy - who forged such close links to the Kinahan gang that he moved to Birmingham and into the fold of Thomas 'Bomber' Kavanagh.

'Fat' John was recently released from prison after serving 12 years for possession of heroin. His home was raided in September in huge searches involving both gardaí and the military, and a second wave of searches took place late last month in the Moyross area which also involved the army.

Now the release of senior members of a number of the gangs in recent times, along with a growing demand for cocaine and heroin, have led to fears that they are increasing the supply.

And despite the hard work in cracking down on criminality, Limerick still has a disproportionate number of crime gangs and CAB targets and most are in large gangs which have multi-generational links to crime.

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