THE main crime gangs in Limerick have united in a bid to murder rival crime boss Christy Keane.
Keane (54), a convicted drug dealer, remains in hospital today after he was shot four times while on the way to the University of Limerick gym yesterday.
The Herald can today reveal that three Limerick crime gangs - the feared McCarthy-Dundon gang, a major Moyross drug-dealing gang and a third grouping comprised of associates of Keane's once sworn ally Eddie Ryan - are suspected to have banded together in a deadly alliance against the crime boss.
A man aged on his 30s who is from the northside of the city and is well known to gardai was arrested last night. He is suspected of being involved in the planning of yesterday morning's gun attack.
The arrested man is a close associate of crime brothers Eddie and Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan, who have both received sentences for firearms offences. He is being questioned at Henry Street Garda Station and can be held for up to seven days.
The suspect has convictions for an arson attack on an associate of Christy Keane along with other criminal offences.
Kieran Keane, a brother of Christy, was murdered in 2003 by five associates of the Ryan brothers when he was lured to a lethal double-cross with his nephew, Owen Treacy.
Keane was stabbed and shot after he fell into a set-up where he believed he was paying €60,000 to have two brothers, Eddie and Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan, murdered.
The five-man gang murdered Keane on the roadside at Drombanna, Co Limerick - the same spot where one of two burnt out cars involved in yesterday's gun attack was found.
Gardai also believe that a close associate of the criminal Dundon brothers, who is now the de facto leader of the Ballinacurra-Weston gang, may also have knowledge of yesterday's attempted murder.
This individual is considered extremely dangerous and has firearms convictions.
Another prime suspect believed to have been involved in the preparation of yesterday's gun attack is a Moyross-based drug-dealer. He is closely aligned to 'Fat John' McCarthy - a cousin of the Ryan brothers - who is serving a 14-year sentence for drug-dealing.
Officers hope to interview Christy Keane at University Hospital Limerick later today.
Two handguns believed to have been used in the attack have also been recovered. They were discovered in a red Ford Focus hatchback which was burnt out in Monaleen shortly after the shooting, which happened in a car park adjacent to University of Limerick Sports Arena at 6.45am yesterday.
Gardai are fearful that the violent 15-year-old feud, which began when Christy Keane's chief enforcer, Eddie Ryan, emerged from the shadow of his former crime boss and attempted to murder him, is about to erupt in bloodshed again.
In 2000, Ryan tried to murder Keane outside a northside school in Limerick. Weeks later, Ryan paid the ultimate price when he was shot dead in the Moose bar in Limerick by Kieran Keane and Philip Collopy. Kieran Keane met his demise three years later while Collopy took his own life in 2009.