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Thursday 21 June 2018

'IRA' Pub hold-up suspect tackled by customers was barred ex-regular

The suspected raider in the kitchen of the pub after he was subdued by customers
The suspected raider in the kitchen of the pub after he was subdued by customers

This is the man (opposite) who was tackled to the ground by brave customers after allegedly trying to hold up a Dublin pub where he used to be a regular.

Derek Foran, who is in his 30s, was due to appear before Dublin District Court this morning charged with the attempted robbery at the Speaker Conolly pub on Firhouse Road, Tallaght, as it was closing on New Year's Day.

Assistant manager Jason Doyle said the man, who lives less than a mile from the pub, encountered more resistance than he had bargained for when he entered the pub in south Dublin.

The man waited in the car park until staff were locking up at around midnight on Monday.

However, he apparently did not bank on customers being inside when he struck - nor had he any idea that one of the customers was an off-duty detective.

Helicopter

"One of the staff was locking up outside when the masked man approached him in the car park and stuck the gun up to his neck," Mr Doyle said.

"He forced him back into the pub and then he came at me with the gun, which was like an Uzi machine gun.

Jason Doyle, assistant bar manager at the Speaker Conolly bar in Firhouse. Photo: Damien Eagers
Jason Doyle, assistant bar manager at the Speaker Conolly bar in Firhouse. Photo: Damien Eagers

"There were around a dozen customers still in the pub and he shouted at everyone to get down.

"He shouted, 'IRA, this is a robbery, get the f**k down' and forced me into the kitchen area."

The would-be raider then went behind the counter and pointed the gun at Mr Doyle as he demanded the takings.

"I was down on the floor. I shouted, 'Calm down, we'll get whatever you need, just calm down'," he said.

"The gunman went into the bar and pointed the gun at the lads and told everyone to get into the lounge. He told me to get up and get the money.

"By the time I was in the office, he was in the kitchen and the next thing I heard was this huge commotion.

"It was a frightening experience - you don't know if a gun is real or not in those situations.

"He had been waving the gun around at people and being threatening, and it seems three of the customers in the bar didn't take kindly to having a gun pointed at them and decided to act.

"All of a sudden the three customers in the bar jumped the counter and tackled the raider to the ground, defending themselves as they did so.

The Speaker Connolly pub in the Firhouse area of Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
The Speaker Connolly pub in the Firhouse area of Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

"They eventually wrestled the gun off him and pinned him to the floor.

"The panic button had been activated when he came in, but I ran out from the kitchen and got the detective."

Mr Doyle and the detective got the three customers back safely out of the kitchen, but by this stage the raider had been unmasked and they recognised him.

Another staff member said the man used to be a regular in the pub and knew staff by name, but he had been barred in the past.

"He was getting around to being let back in if he came on his own and behaved," the barman said.

"I was asking him what the hell he thought he was doing, and he was all apologetic.

He said he had 'hit bad times'. It was hard to believe. We've all hit hard times, but we don't go around robbing places."

Gardai were immediately contacted and responded, arresting the man and recovering a gun and a mask.

Accomplices

The garda helicopter was also sent to the scene and carried out a search of the immediate area and surrounding estates with searchlights and night cameras to determine if the raider had any accomplices.

However, early indications are that he was desperate for cash and acting on his own.

The arrested man was taken to Tallaght Garda Station for questioning, but also needed medical attention at Tallaght Hospital for injuries he sustained while being overpowered by the three customers.

The identity of the have-a-go customers was not known. They were described as a group of men who only drank in the pub occasionally.

"We only see them every few months and they stay in their own group. I don't know them by name," said Mr Doyle.

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