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Notorious criminal who survived bomb remains under threat


Sean Hanley

Sean Hanley

Sean Hanley

AN INFAMOUS criminal who previously escaped with his life after a booby trap bomb exploded under his car remains under serious threat from dissident Republicans.

Limerick man Sean 'Cowboy' Hanley (55) is said to be "under severe threat" because IRA thugs are demanding cash from him.

However, it is believed he has been unable or unwilling to pay up.

Hanley, who lives near Roscrea, Co Tipperary, has been warned about the threat against his life.


"Cowboy has lived a charmed existence until now, but he needs to be careful because the dissident republicans he is a money dispute with are a dangerous and nasty mob," a senior source said last night.

Just over two years ago, Hanley underwent surgery after a device exploded at his rural home in Roscrea Road, Shinrone, Co Offaly.

He no longer lives at that address.

It is believed the attack was connected to the murder of Limerick crime boss Kieran Keane in 2002.

Sources suspect the booby trap was placed under the car by the notorious Keane gang.

Kieran Keane, a senior member of the Keane-Collopy gang in Limerick, was murdered in 2002 by the rival McCarthy-Dundon and Ryan gangs in a double-cross.

Keane was stabbed and shot after he was lured into a trap where he believed he was paying €60,000 to have two brothers, Eddie and Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan, murdered. The Keane gang claim associates of Hanley hid the assassins.

Although Hanley escaped without serious injury after the bomb exploded, he needed surgery to remove shrapnel from his stomach.

Hanley, who got his nickname because of his involvement in the cattle trade, had his 10-year sentence for amphetamine possession halved following an "exceptional" appeal hearing in October 2010.

He was caught with 3kg of amphetamines in Mountrath, Co Laois, in December 2004.

Hanley was a passenger in a car that was blocked by the Garda National Drug Unit following a chase, but was unco-operative under questioning despite having been seen throwing the drugs from the car.

He pleaded not guilty to possession of drugs for sale or supply but was sentenced to 10 years in prison, having been convicted by a Portlaoise Circuit Court jury in June 2008.


The Court of Criminal Appeal later ruled that Hanley's appeal was "clearly an exceptional case" and that the violent death of his son had an "extraordinary effect" on his psyche.

The court heard that Hanley's more serious offending could be "sourced" to the stabbing death of Brian Hanley in August 2001.

In 2007, Judge Carroll Moran directed a jury to find Hanley not guilty of assaulting a woman while trespassing at her home after four state witnesses failed to identify him despite doing so in written statements.

He had been charged with possession of a knife and baseball bat with intent to cause harm during the incident at Cliona Park, Moyross, on June 10, 2003.