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gangster death Tommy 'the Zombie' Savage moved out of Dublin to escape life of crime after attempt on his life

Savage had been living in Galway at the time of his death

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Tommy 'Zombie' Savage coming out of court in 2019

Tommy 'Zombie' Savage coming out of court in 2019

Tommy 'Zombie' Savage coming out of court in 2019

Veteran gangster Tommy ‘the Zombie’ Savage, who died of a heart attack this week, moved out of Dublin to try to avoid getting sucked back into gangland feuds following an attempt on his life in 2016.

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.

He died of a heart attack in Galway on Thursday night at the age of 71. He was with his brother and his brother’s partner at the time of his death.

Savage, who is originally from Swords in Dublin, had been living a rented property in Galway in recent times and sources said he didn’t want to get sucked into feuding in Dublin after a gunman tried to take him out in 2016.

Before moving to Galway, it is believed he also spent time in Co. Cork and sources said he tried to keep fit and healthy by walking up to 10 miles a day.

Funeral details have yet to be made public but the funeral is likely to take place as early as tomorrow.

Savage’s death came just hours after news broke of the arrest of his former pal Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch in Spain.

While Savage was a major player in decades gone by, he was not considered a major criminal at the time of his death and it is understood he left Dublin to try to escape his gangland past.

He had a close shave with death in 2016 when a gunman opened fire on him as he sat in a vehicle in Swords.

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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.

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 also investigated whether the shooting was linked to an ongoing north Dublin feud which a younger associate of his was involved in.

No one was ever charged in relation to the attack.

Our picture shows Savage in Baldoyle shortly after the shooting and other than being pictured after court appearance in 2019 for driving offence he kept a low public profile in the years before his death.

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

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

He was also a suspect in the murder of small time cannabis dealer Danny McKeown who was shot dead on Cumberland Street in Dublin in 1982.

Savage was also linked to the murder of drug rival Gerry Hourigan who was shot dead in Ballymun in 1983 following a dispute with Savage’s associates.

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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

After leaving Ireland in the 1990s, 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.

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

At the time Savage was a suspect in ordering Delaney’s murder after it was claimed Delaney had misappropriated money. Around the same time it was reported that Savage approached an Irish Department of Justice official who was visiting Holland and accused him and his colleagues of wrongly branding him as a murderer.

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.”

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