herald

Thursday 13 December 2018

I'll be back... as a witness

STEVE Collins today vowed he will be back – to give evidence against his son's killers.

The businessman was forced to move his family abroad after three years of constant death threats by the sociopathic Dundon gang in Limerick.

The gangsters had murdered Steve’s son Roy.

Speaking as he departed, Steve told the killers: "I'll be back to see you all jailed. I will be coming back as a witness for any further murder trials."

"I am determined to see justice done for Roy and to see this through to the end," Mr Collins added.

"I am confident that the gardai in Limerick are going to charge some of the Dundons and their henchman Nathan Killeen with murder.

"They (the Dundons) might have thought that they had won some kind of victory when the news broke about us leaving, but they won't be smiling for long."

Mr Collins and his family have lived in constant danger from Wayne and John Dundon and their vicious mob since their son Roy was gunned down at the family's business three years ago.

Roy (34) was shot dead in his casino on April 9, 2009, four years after members of his family testified against Wayne Dundon.

Dundon was convicted of threatening to kill Steve Collins's adopted son, Ryan Lee.

Gunman

Ryan, who was shot twice by a masked gunman at Brannigan's pub in 2004 after he refused entry to Wayne Dundon's underage sister, remains under protection.

Mr Collins, his wife Carmel and their adult children, Steve Jnr and Leeann flew out of Shannon Airport yesterday afternoon on an Aer Lingus flight.

However, armed gardai will continue to protect extended members of the Collins family.

Before leaving the country yesterday, Mr Collins said he wanted his family to have a normal life and not to be looking over their shoulder.

"It is too much. Everywhere we go, the guards have to go with us. It is not a normal life," Mr Collins said.

"The trauma of the past three years became too much for us as a family.

"We have had to live with the constant threat that the Dundons and their henchmen will do everything in their power to undermine our quality of life.



Identities

"We are going to start a new life but we are not going into hiding and not losing our identities.

"You are constantly thinking what could happen next. It is time for us to move on and unfortunately we cannot do that in Limerick with everything that has happened. I want what is best for my family.

"It's hard enough to lose a child and live with grief like that but there has been the constant threat. Carmel and I have been worried every day about our children's safety."

He said his adult children had no future in this country.

"This situation is intolerable for young people who are trying to live their lives ... what kind of future could they hope for here?

"We realised that they (McCarthy-Dundons) will never go away and will never give up.

"The last time I thought the Dundons were gone out of our lives an order was sent from prison to murder Roy and destroy us a family.

"It is the toughest decision that we have ever had to make. But once we made that decision we took up the offer of being relocated by the authorities."

His wife, Carmel said she was lived "in constant dread of something happening to my husband or my other children".

Hell

"Anything has to be better than the way we are living now. This has been hell," she said.

To facilitate the move abroad, Limerick's Regeneration Agencies has bought the Steering Wheel pub at Roxboro shopping centre and are now the legal owners of the pub.

It is understood that the pub and adjacent casino - where Roy Collins was shot dead in 2009 - was purchased from the family for just over €500,000.

Mr Collins closed the pub doors last Monday and all remaining stock was sold off last week.

Chief executive of Limerick's Regeneration Agencies, Brendan Kenny, said it was hoped that the pub and casino will be developed into a community facility.

"We have a few things in mind already that we are looking at, but we will have to wait and see. Whatever is planned, it will benefit the local community," Mr Kenny said.

"We feel this will be a good property for the communities moving forward."

Arson

"It is located right between two regeneration areas," he added.

The licence for the pub will be sold off by the Collins family and has not been bought by the Regeneration Agencies.

The State is also set to purchase Brannigan's pub on Mulgrave Street in the city. It is believed that this sale has not yet been completed.

The pub was destroyed in an arson attack in 2005 while Wayne Dundon awaited trial for threatening to kill Lee.

The suspect who is expected to be charged in relation to the savage murder of Roy Collins is a senior member of the McCarthy/ Dundon gang who gardai believe acted as a getaway driver for the murder and also had the same role in the murder of another innocent Limerick man - Shane Geoghegan.

He is serving a jail sentence for a cash extortion attempt and has been heavily involved in the internal dispute which has led to the implosion of the McCarthy/Dundon gang.

The suspect was arrested by gardai in prison last November where he was quizzed about three gangland hits.

Also arrested on that occasion were Wayne, John and Ger Dundon and officers are steadily building major cases against all four criminals.

hnews@herald.ie

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