Inmate may have ordered hit on Limerick criminal

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Attack: Convicted drug dealer Christy Keane (inset) is continuing to recover in hospital after he was shot a number of times on the University of Limerick campus last week
DETECTIVES investigating the attempted murder of Christy Keane are investigating the possibility the hit was ordered from behind bars.

DETECTIVES investigating the attempted murder of Christy Keane are investigating the possibility the hit was ordered from behind bars.

Detectives from across the city have been drafted in to assist with the investigation amid fears of a major escalation in the city’s gangland feud, which has claimed at least 18 lives since November 2000.

Senior officers have refused to be drawn on national media reports that a number of criminal gangs in the city may have come together in an effort to have Keane killed in a row over drugs.

“There is no doubt that this was a carefully planned attack but for the outcome,” said one informed source, who added that the use of what appears to have been automatic handguns was a worrying development.

A number of case conferences were held yesterday as gardai look to establish a motive and identify those behind the early-morning attack.

One theory being pursued is that a rival criminal, who is currently in prison, may have sanctioned the attack.

Mobile phone traffic is being examined as part of the investigation while hundreds of hours of CCTV footage from the University of Limerick and other locations in Castletroy, Monaleen and Drombanna is being examined.

The results of forensic tests conducted on two cars which were found bunt-out are awaited as are the results of ballistic tests on two handguns which were recovered from the 132D-registered Ford Focus found near Monaleen Stores.

The man in custody is known to gardai and was previously involved in an arson attack which was connected with the feud.

A 37-year-old man remains in garda custody after he was arrested late on Monday night. The suspect, who is from the northside of the city, has a number of previous convictions for serious offences.

He is being detained at Henry Street garda station under Section 50 of the Offences Against the State Act.

He can be held for up to seven days - subject to court applications to extend his period of detention.