Gardaí in Limerick have been closely monitoring the activities of notorious criminal Christy Keane since his recent release from prison.

The leader of the Keane gang was released from Portlaoise prison three weeks ago after completing a 10-year sentence for dealing cannabis. He has since returned to his home in Ballysimon, Limerick.

Before his imprisonment in 2002, the 47-year-old was considered one of Limerick's most active underworld figures. The Keane and Collopy families have been involved in a gangland feud with the Dundon-McCarthy gang – which has claimed 12 lives since 2000.

"Keane is keeping a low profile. There was a fear his release would spark off more violence but it hasn't," said a garda source. "He's just served a lengthy jail sentence and he's hardly eager to get put back behind bars. He's not a young man either and we're hoping the low profile he's been keeping since his release will continue."

It is believed that Keane is due to go on holiday to Spain in the coming days. "He has either gone already or will be going shortly," the source said.

A senior detective in Limerick said reports that Keane's enemies were plotting to murder him shortly after his release were " completely untrue".

The Dundon-McCarthy gang had viewed Keane's imprisonment as a chance to take control of most of the city's drug trade and directly took on the Keanes.

Kieran Keane (36) was murdered in 2003 by five members of the Dundon-McCarthys. Following the murder of his younger brother, Christy Keane directed the gang's activities from inside the prison.