Gangs of Limerick: a bloody four-year story of shooting, kidnapping and revenge


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Gangs of Limerick: a bloody four-year story of shooting, kidnapping and revenge

Criminal families who carved up an Irish city are locked in a deadly feud

Rosie Cowan, Ireland correspondent
Friday January 31, 2003
The Guardian

It was not long after 3am yesterday when Mary Ryan got the call she had been dreading. Her two sons, Eddie, 20, and Kieran, 19, were kidnapped at gunpoint last week, and Mary, whose husband, Eddie Snr, was shot dead in a packed pub two years ago, was convinced she would never see them alive again.
But the voices on the other end of the phone melted her worst fears. Her boys were safe and well, and had just walked into Portlaoise garda [police] station, 70 miles from her home in Limerick in the south-west of Ireland.
For others, however, the nightmare was just beginning. A few hours before the Ryan brothers turned up, the body of Kieran Keane, 36, reputedly a ruthless gangland boss, was dumped on a lonely roadside, three miles outside Limerick.
His hands were tied behind his back and he had been shot in the back of the head, in what police think was revenge for the Ryan brothers' abduction. The Ryan family also believes Keane pulled the trigger on Eddie Snr.
Keane's companion, Owen Tracey, 30, suffered serious stab wounds but managed to stagger to a nearby house and raise the alarm. He remains critically ill in hospital. A few hours later, a man and a woman in their 40s were arrested.
These were just the latest extraordinary episodes in a bloody four-year war between two criminal families to rival films like Gangs of New York or TV series The Sopranos. Vicious muggings and casual brutality on the streets have already earned Limerick the epithet Stab City. But recent years have seen the emergence of well-organised, heavily armed gangs, and these days, they are as likely to blow their enemies away with a Kalashnikov as pull a knife on them.
Criminal barons, involved in drug dealing, racketeering and money laundering, have carved the city up into two territories, north and south. They have smuggled sub-machine guns, sophisticated handguns and, some sources believe, hand grenades, along with drugs from eastern Europe, giving their henchmen an artillery worthy of 1930s Chicago mobsters.
Four years ago, a fight between two young girls in a school playground, which resulted in one girl getting her face slashed, sparked the present feud. Members of both girls' families belonged to a north Limerick criminal gang, of which garda sources say Eddie Ryan Snr was an enforcer. But Ryan, a relative of one of the girls, decided to retaliate for her injury and a catalogue of tit-for-tat attacks ensued as the bitterness between the two families spiralled out of control.
In November 2000, drinkers watched in horror as gunmen pumped Ryan full of bullets in the crowded Moose Bar in Limerick city centre. Since then, there have been more than 40 serious incidents linked to the feud, including drive-by shootings and homes being petrol bombed.
Last Thursday night, Eddie Jnr and his brother Kieran were out walking with a friend, Christopher "Smokie" Costello, a couple of miles from their home, when three balaclava-clad men jumped from a car, shouting and waving a handgun and a shotgun.
They bundled the Ryan brothers into a car and fired a shot, but Costello escaped. More than 100 police officers and soldiers launched a massive search, combing acres of hills and dense woodland near the city, but hope of finding the pair alive ebbed awayas almost a week passed without a trace.
The feuding, however, continued. On Monday, John McCarthy, a nephew of Eddie Ryan Snr, described to a Limerick court how gunmen missed his nine-year-old son, David, by inches when they shot up his home with an AK-47 assault rifle last August.
A melee broke out on the steps of the courthouse when taunts and punches flew between the two families. Police arrested seven men and confiscated a bulletproof vest. Five men were charged and three of them were jailed for two months each yesterday for their part in the fracas.
Yesterday, the Ryan brothers returned home, laughing and waving as they were greeted by rousing cheers from well-wishers, Kieran anxious to be reunited with his girlfriend, Edel O'Neill, and their three-month-old daughter, Kelsey, due to be christened tomorrow.
But they revealed nothing about their captors or where they had been for the past seven days. Behind the relieved smiles, shock and fear hung on their pale faces, palpable as the tension on the streets of Limerick.
Garda commissioner Pat Byrne has dispatched the 40-strong armed emergency response unit from Dublin and officers from surrounding counties to patrol the city and police might cordon off certain areas to keep the rival factions apart.
Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister, condemned the events in Limerick as "totally unacceptable in any civil society", while the justice minister, Michael McDowell, vowed to give the police all the resources they need to maintain order.
Donal Murray, the bishop of Limerick, called on the city's 80,000 citizens to pray for calm. The mayor, John Cronin, appealed for an end to the cycle of violence. Other public representatives have offered to mediate between the two families.
A tearful Mary Ryan insisted she did not want any other mother to suffer what she has gone through this past week.
"I just hope that there isn't any more trouble and there isn't any more people hurt," she said. "I just want an end to everything. I want to live in peace now with my children."
But those close to the twists and turns of the feud are pessimistic. One source said: "There are several hundred people in these two extended families, they are not all going to let this drop.
"This is personal. Kieran Keane was a powerful man and someone will take it upon himself to wreak vengeance. Children are being kept off school, mothers are afraid to walk to the shops. People are bracing themselves for worse."

abduction – a kidnapping, uprowadzenie
balaclava-clad – wearing a kind of a cap that covers the face and has holes for the eyes, odziani w kominiarki
to brace oneself - zbierać siły
captor – the one that captures/kidnaps
carve up – to divide, to cut in pieces, rozparcelować
to dread – to fear
to dump – to throw down
a drive-by shooting – when people attack others by shooting from a moving car
to ebb away – to fade, to disappear
to ensue - następować, wywiązywać się
fracas - awantura
feud – an argument for ex. between families, waśń
henchman - poplecznik
melee - zamieszanie, zamieszki
to melt - rozpuścić
mobster - rzezimieszek
mugging – an attack on a person in the street
palpable – evident
racket - swindle, kant, oszustwo
to retaliate – to take revenge
ruthless – without mercy
to slash – to cut
stab - pchnięcie nożem
stagger – to walk in a very weak way, zataczać się
taunt - drwina
tit-for-tat - wet za wet
trigger - spust
vengeance – a revenge
vicious – angry, full of hatred
to vow - przyrzekać


Nie masz uprawnień do komentowania

Wszystko do nauki języków


Komunikat dla użytkowników:

Od dnia 7.01.2019 zaprzestaliśmy codziennego wysyłania listy słówek.

Zaloguj się lub zarejestruj aby skorzystać ze wszystkich funkcji portalu.

Loading ...