IRA named as suspects in Revenue laptop theft
THE IRA are the chief suspects behind the sophisticated theft of 10 revenue laptops from a high-security facility last month.
Gardai have recovered the computers and believe that a company linked to a former IRA member was under investigation for its tax affairs.
Detectives suspect that the robbery was made to impede the Revenue's inquiries into the former republican.
The laptops were stolen from the audit section of the Revenue Commissioners offices at Ashtown Gate on Navan Road, Dublin on January 27.
The unit investigates tax evasion and fraud and works closely with the Criminal Assets Bureau.
The republican's substantial business affairs were being investigated by the Revenue for tax evasion.
Organised crime gangs from west Dublin are also on the suspect list along with a Traveller gang which is stealing laptops for sale on the black market.
A number of businesspeople whose records were stolen during the raid were being investigated by tax officials and are linked to Fianna Fail, the Herald understands.
Two separate investigations by the gardai and the office of the Data Protection Commissioner have begun into the theft.
Reviews of the security arrangements at the facility are also believed to be taking place.
Three men entered the Revenue's offices at Ashtown Gate on Navan Road around 7.15pm using a swipe card during a 30-minute window when the offices were empty but the main alarm system had not been activated.
Once they had identified the laptops they wished to steal, the padlocked and chained computers were unlocked and the men fled the scene.
Investigators are confident that certain desks and information were targeted in the theft and have dismissed the possibility that this was an opportunistic crime.
The stolen computers were found last weekend in an abandoned house in a ghost estate in Tyrellstown, west Dublin, following a tip-off to gardai.