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major player Notorious gangster Tommy 'The Zombie' Savage has died at 71

Savage was a career criminal who survived threats and attempts on his life over the years

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Tommy 'The Zombie' Savage was one of Ireland's most notorious gangsters

Tommy 'The Zombie' Savage was one of Ireland's most notorious gangsters

Tommy 'The Zombie' Savage was one of Ireland's most notorious gangsters

Veteran gangland figure Tommy ‘the Zombie’ Savage has died from natural causes at the age of 71.

The notorious Dublin gangster was a convicted drug smuggler and former member of the INLA who was considered a major player in Ireland’s underworld in his heyday.

It is understood Savage, from Swords in north Dublin, died from a suspected heart attack in Galway this morning.

The Sunday World understands Savage was with his brother and his brother’s partner at the time of the incident and the rest of his family have been informed of the death.

Savage had a long career in criminality despite various threats and attempts against his life over the year.

He was initially involved with Saor Eire and then the Official IRA before joining the INLA in the 1970s.

He served a nine-year sentence on the INLA wing in Portlaoise after being convicted of armed robbery.

After his release from prison he became heavily involved in the drugs business and also had strong ties to organised crime figures in Cork.

In 1991 he was nominated as the prime suspect in the murder of ex-INLA and IRA man Patrick ‘Teasy Weasy’ McDonald.

He has always denied involvement in the killing but left Ireland and moved to Holland shortly afterwards after receiving death threats from the IRA.

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The Sunday World caught up with Thomas 'The Zombie' Savage after an attempt on his life in 2016.

The Sunday World caught up with Thomas 'The Zombie' Savage after an attempt on his life in 2016.

The Sunday World caught up with Thomas 'The Zombie' Savage after an attempt on his life in 2016.

The killing was one of several Savage was linked to over his life of crime but he has always denied being a killer.

After leaving Ireland he based himself in Amsterdam from where he organised major international weapons and drugs shipments and forged links with George ‘the Penguin’ Mitchell and John Cunningham.

He also established strong links with international crime gangs and was a key figure in organising shipments into Europe from other continents.

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Two of his close associates – Cork criminal Michael Crinnion and Finglas criminal Christy Delaney – were shot dead within months of each other in 1995.

However, Savage continued to be a major player in the drug business.

Around the turn of the century Savage’s empire began to crumble following a series of seizures of major shipments including a €5m cannabis and ecstasy haul in France and a €17m ecstasy haul in Amsterdam.

In 2004 he was arrested in Amsterdam over a €50m drugs haul seized in Greece seven years previously.

At the time of his arrest Savage was running a hotel in Amsterdam and claimed to have given up on his involvement in crime.

He was sentenced to six years in prison in 2006 in connection with the haul.

While in prison Savage set up a Bebo page in which he said he was the victim of numerous smear campaigns by rival criminals.

He said that at one stage underworld rumours falsely linked him to the murder of crime journalist Veronica Guerin which was carried out by John Gilligan’s drugs gang.

Writing on his Bebo page, Savage said the rumours were nonsense.

“Certain people have been claiming that I was there. That is pure sh**e,”.

“Such comment is designed to ruin me.

“I had nothing to do with it. I have been set up by certain people because they wanted me out of circulation.”

While no longer considered a major player, Savage couldn’t escape his criminal past on his return to Ireland and was nearly killed when he was targeted in an assassination plot in Dublin in 2016.

He while sitting in Renault Clio car in Rathbeale Crescent in Swords when gunman fired up to eight shots leaving the car riddled with bullets but somehow Savage managed to avoid any injury.

At the time he told pals he had been targeted by a north Dublin criminal who had wrongly accused him of hassling a woman but gardai investigated whether the shooting was linked to an ongoing north Dublin feud which a younger associate of his was involved in.

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