| 17.6°C Dublin

€110k cash, luxury motors and designer gear seized as gang hit

Close

A Mercedes car seized in the garda raids

A Mercedes car seized in the garda raids

PA

A Mercedes car seized in the garda raids

Hundreds of gardai have been involved in a massive search operation against one of the gangs driving the vicious Longford feud.

The operation, planned for weeks, kicked off shortly before 7am yesterday and led to the seizure of €110,000 and £14,000 (€15,400) in cash, 11 vehicles, three caravans and designer watches, handbags and clothing.

Specialist armed garda units were backed up by local officers as they raided 12 homes, three professional premises and a business premises.

"Financial accounts in excess of €80,000 were frozen by way of orders under Section 17 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010," a garda spokesman said.

The targeted mob are members of the Hannifin organised crime gang, which is among the main protagonists in the bitter Longford feud.

Investigations have established the gang has bought at least four properties on the same road in a housing estate and a large parcel of development land in Co Longford.

It is estimated one property raided yesterday has around €500,000 worth of upgrades - including "marble on every internal surface and pure granite pillars and fittings."

Violent

Last month, three members of the gang walked free from court after receiving suspended sentences in relation to a violent fracas that inflamed the feud. The incident happened at the Texaco Service Station, on the Dublin Road, in Longford, at 5pm on June 2 last year.

The Longford feud has resulted in numerous violent incidents, including shootings, arson attacks, assaults and death threats which have led armed gardai to carry out dozens of major operations.

Willie Hannifin (32), of Knockashaw, Dublin Road, Longford; Thomas Hannifin (40), of Dublin Road, Longford; and Denis Hannifin (39) of Curry, Athlone Road, Longford, as well as two male juvenile defendants, all appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson at Longford Circuit Court last month.

Close

Cash seized in the garda raids

Cash seized in the garda raids

PA

Cash seized in the garda raids

Thomas and Willie pleaded guilty to violent disorder and were each given a three-year suspended jail sentence which was backdated to April 7 when they were first remanded in custody by the local district court.

Denis Hannifin was given a one-year suspended sentence, also backdated to when he was remanded in custody for possession of weapons in the fracas.

Clemency

There was controversy after the court hearing, when it emerged local Fianna Fail TD Joe Flaherty wrote a letter on behalf of the accused men to the court, which he later explained was not a character reference or a plea for clemency.

Senior gardai have become increasingly concerned the Hannifin gang - who have been involved in a feud with members of the Stokes family in Co Longford - have been building up a "property and business empire" in the midlands county.

"They have been getting bigger all the time and these raids will hurt this gang severely, with so many assets being seized," a senior source told the Herald.

Apart from drug dealing, the gang is also suspected of involvement in organised prostitution and ordering violent feud attacks. There were no arrests in yesterday's raids.

Among the items seized, which have a total value of around €500,000, were vehicles including a Mercedes, Skoda Kodiaq, Isuzu D-MAX, Ford Ranger, Toyota Land Cruiser and assorted light commercial vehicles - none were found to be stolen.