Gangster is among seven arrested in cash-in-transit plot
A CRIMINAL who was recently cleared of charges in relation to a notorious gangland incident was one of seven men arrested attempting to rob a cash-in-transit van.
All seven men were still being detained in four different north Dublin garda stations last night after being busted in two separate cars in the Rosemount Avenue area of Artane at around 1.30pm yesterday.
The arrests were the result of a long-running surveillance operation by detectives who were backed up by the Emergency Response Unit in an arrest operation that lasted for around 15 minutes.
Last night it emerged that the gangsters had been involved in a plot to target a cash-in-transit van that was due to deposit a large sum of cash in a local supermarket yesterday afternoon.
Armed officers first swooped on a van containing three men in which a loaded firearm, other weapons and balaclavas were recovered.
Another three men were arrested in a car nearby including a 43-year-old criminal who is considered one of the most dangerous gangsters in the State.
A seventh man was also arrested nearby.
The suspects are aged from their early 20s to mid-50s and are understood to include a father and son.
"This was one of the biggest operations against organised crime this year and it took weeks of planning," a source told the Herald.
"Investigators are particularly delighted that the 43-year-old is in custody, and even though he was not caught with a gun there is evidence to link him to this crime."
The Coolock-based criminal has built a fearsome reputation after two decades of being heavily involved in organised crime and has convictions for burglary and assault offences.
He was closely associated with veteran crimelord Eamon Kelly who was shot dead in December 2012, and was a prominent mourner at his funeral.
Close associates of the 43-year-old were given a severe hiding by the Alan Ryan Real IRA mob outside a Dublin pub in September 2012, an incident that is believed to have escalated the gangland plot to have Ryan murdered weeks later.
Other associates of the arrested criminal are suspected of playing a major part in the gruesome slaying of Coolock pals Eoin O'Connor (33) and Anthony Keegan (32) whose bodies were found on an island in Lough Sheelin last May.
They had gone missing in Co Cavan several weeks before when they tried to recover a drugs debt.