Shooting of Keane has led to fears of more bloodshed
Tensions between feuding gangs in Limerick are heating up.
The failed attempt on the life of notorious city criminal Christy Keane on June 29 has turned up the heat in the bitter city battle.
Gardai put a definitive halt to the feud involving the infamous McCarthy/Dundon gang by putting most of the main players behind bars. A number of the ringleaders, such as gang bosses Wayne, John and Dessie Dundon, are serving life sentences.
But the early morning murder attempt on Keane (54), as he made his way into a Limerick gym, shows that the feud has not gone away.
There can be no doubt that Christy and his violent son Liam played a major role in the brutal feud which claimed 18 lives.
The war kicked off with the murder of Christy's former associate Eddie Ryan, who was shot dead in 2000. Much of the subsequent violence centred around a dispute between the Keane/Collopy gang and the McCarthy/Dundons.
When many of those involved in the original gang war were jailed in recent years there were hopes that there could finally be an era of peace in Limerick city.
But the daylight shooting of Keane on the campus of University of Limerick has meant the situation is as tense now as it has been for four years or so.
This is despite a pledge from the Keane family that there should be no retaliation following his attempted murder.
Separately gardai have been warning all year of an upsurge in tensions and violent incidents in the city, particularly in the Moyross and St Mary's Park areas where gangs are extremely active.
Just a week before Keane was shot, Det Sgt Padraig Byrnes cautioned that there have been "green shoots and a re-emergence of the feud which dogged the city for years".
The detective told Limerick District Court that gardai fear there could be a further loss of life given the recent escalation of incidents involving the "new wave" of gang members.
A violent Limerick gangster, who cannot be named here for legal reasons, returned to the country after he served a lengthy jail sentence for firearms offences in the UK and is suspected of masterminding the shooting of Keane.
He has strong links to the notorious Dundon brothers and two other separate crime groupings. The thug is also suspected of enlisting over a dozen teenage footsoldiers.
Gardai now fear that these criminals will again try to exert control in the city.