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Dead crime boss's brother in kill threat to workmate

A BROTHER of a murdered crime boss has been suspended from his council job after threatening to kill a colleague.

Patrick Keane -- brother of drugs dealer Christy Keane -- has been suspended from his road-sweeping job with Limerick City Council after he was convicted of threatening to kill co-worker Patrick Coughlan.

The local authority is conducting an investigation after Keane, of Island Road, St Mary's Park, was prosecuted last week in Limerick District Court for making the threat to Mr Coughlan at the local authority's depot on Park Road in the city.

The incident took place on April 22 last when Keane -- an employee of Limerick City Council for 35 years -- was returning to the depot in his road sweeper and encountered Mr Coughlan.

Mr Coughlan has been employed with the local authority for 20 years and worked alongside Keane in the Environmental Department without any incident up until last year.

Shouting at Mr Coughlan, Keane threatened to kill him and Mr Coughlan drove away immediately. The offence was captured on CCTV.

Keane escaped a jail term when Judge Tom O'Donnell handed him an eight-month suspended sentence and ordered him to be of good behaviour for 12 months. He was also ordered not to interfere in any way with Mr Coughlan.





INVEStIGATION

Yesterday, Keane was informed by senior management at Limerick City Council that he was suspended indefinitely from his position pending a full investigation into the incident.

Mr Coughlan has not returned to work since the incident and is understood to be on sick leave. As well as making a complaint to gardai, Mr Coughlan also gave a statement to his supervisors at Limerick City Council.

A spokesman for Limerick City Council said it do not discuss any ongoing investigations regarding its employees.

Known locally as 'Pa' Keane, it is believed that the suspended worker is five years from retirement. His only previous convictions relate to road traffic matters and horse offences.

He is a brother of Christy Keane -- a convicted drugs dealer and leading member of the Keane criminal gang.

Another brother, Kieran Keane, was kidnapped and murdered by five members of the McCarthy-Dundon criminal gang in 2003.

In February last year after a man was shot dead in Limerick, Patrick Keane narrowly escaped an attack on his own life when the suspected gunman approached a council employee in a mini-sweeper in the city centre, but ran off after realising Keane was not in the vehicle.

Coughlan is the uncle of Darren Coughlan who was beaten to death in 2005 by two of Patrick Keane's nephews -- Joe Keane and Richard Treacy -- and another man, Shane Kelly.

hnews@herald.ie