For 25 years, Limerick has been in the grip of the gangs THIS IS THE STORY of how it all began. 1978 and a double-murder that Gardai could not solve - the murder no one saw. It was a busy evening in Kiely's Bar when two members of the McNamara clan attacked Anthony Kelly with knives. In the ensuing struggle he wrestled the knives from both assailants. When he walked from the bar he left two dead men, and a bitterness that prevails to this day. THIS IS THE STORY of what followed: Vicious interfamily feuding, coupled with a thriving drug trade and petty crime, giving the city a name for mindless violence - 'stab city', best seen through the rear-view mirror of your car. THIS IS THE STORY of the detectives who have tried to contain the problem. Over three decades the weapons seized have changed - Stanley knives have been replaced on the streets by AK47s, pump action shotguns, and grenades. THIS IS THE STORY of a gang leader who became an alderman on the city council and brought the attitude of the streets to the council chamber. Michael Kelly's sights were set on the Dail before a CAB investigation derailed his ambitions. He is currently appealing an eight-year prison sentence.
THIS IS THE STORY of a city which waits in fear for reprisals following the latest killing. Everyone says they don't want revenge. Everyone knows that's not true. The feuds go on. This is the story of Limerick, it's gangs, the men who have tried to stop them, and the innocent people who have endured twenty five years of fear, thuggery and intimidation.
Anthony Galvin in a journalist living in Limerick, with over ten years experience covering the ongoing feuds and investigations for the Limerick Leader. He lives in Limerick City.