| 12.1°C Dublin

Undercover gardai had followed raid gang for two weeks

ELITE undercover gardai had been watching members of an armed gang for two weeks before an attempted hold up of a cash in transit van in which a gunman was shot dead.

Detectives had received intelligence that the gang intended to hold up a security van yesterday morning but did not know the exact location of the planned raid.

A number of the men involved in the foiled robbery had been under close surveillance for some time by elite surveillance Garda units.

The dead raider, 27-year-old Gareth Molloy of Lower Sheriff Street in the north inner city, was shot a number of times by armed officers who called on the raiders to throw down their weapons.

A second wounded raider was fighting for his life at James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown today after being hit by garda shots.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said today there was “no change” in his condition and he remained on the critical list in the intensive care unit.

The Garda Ombudsman Commission was today carrying out door-to-door inquiries in the West Lucan area.


Four others who were arrested were still being held this morning under Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act at Lucan and Ronanstown Garda Stations and can be held for up to 72 hours.

Gardai recovered a loaded sawn-off double-barrelled shotgun at the scene.

According to witnesses, gardai shouted that they were armed and told the armed raider to drop his weapon.

When he did not comply, one of the detectives fired five shots wounding both of the raiders.

The men had been taking part in the hold-up of a Group Four Securicor (G4S) van delivering cash to an ATM machine at the Centra supermarket in Foxborough Road, in Lucan, west Dublin, shortly after noon. Gardai had received intelligence that the gang intended to hold up a security van yesterday morning, but did not know the location of the planned raid.

A number of men involved in the foiled raid had been under close surveillance for two weeks.

The operation involved Gardai from the National Surveillance Unit (NSU) and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI). Members of the NBCI, the NSU and the Emergency Response Unit were in unmarked cars in streets around the Centra shop when the van arrived around noon.

Two masked men got out a car and approached the crew of the van. They threatened the crew and fired at least one shot from a sawn-off shotgun. At that point, armed Gardai moved in. The officers shouted: “Armed Gardai, throw down your weapons”.

The man with the shotgun immediately turned the weapon and pointed it in the direction of the gardai as he moved to confront them. The detectives opened fire, seriously injuring the two raiders. Molloy died later in hospital. He was described as a former small time criminal who had been recruited by the gang leader to take part in some of his planned heists because regular associates were not available.

He was sentenced to six years imprisonment at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July, 2003, after being convicted of one charge of reckelss endangerment, two of malicious damage and two of dangerous driving.

A man suspected of organising the failed heist was arrested after gardai chased a stolen Golf GTI and intercepted him when at a roundabout on the Neilstown Road.

The alleged gang leader, originally from the north inner city, is related to a former senior gangland figure and was a target for the Criminal Assets Burearu.


He is suspected or organising a number of similiar raids, including robberies in Clontarf, Sutton, Cloghran, East Wall, Leixlip and Lucan since the start of lasat year.

Two other men in their 20s, from Foxdene in Ronanstown, were arrested near the scene when they abandoned a Ford Mondeo and attempted to escape on foot. A sixth suspect was later detained by the team. Justine Minister Dermot Ahern said that while the loss of any life was to be regretted, he had no doubt that the gardai had the full support of the community in taking whatever action was necessary.