FOUR Dublin men who gardaí believe are part of ‘a highly sophisticated, organised crime gang’ appeared before a special sitting of the Castlebar District Court on Sunday in connection with a number of recent burglaries in the Mayo area.
All four defendants appeared charged with entering the home of Mr Joe Heneghan, Facefield on September 20 and committing an arrestable offence under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Fraud Offences Act 2011.
Judge Seamus Hughes refused bail in respect of three of the accused – Shane Byrne (30) of 1 Kiltaltown Path, Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin 22; Dean Maguire (27) of 8 Tree Park Drive, Tallaght, Dublin; and Daniel Lawlor (29) of 95 Kiltaltown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght.
The fourth accused, Gerry Wall (19) of 5 Fortunestown Crescent, Dublin 24, was granted bail by Judge Hughes with strict conditions.
Defending solicitor Lorraine Stephens applied for bail on behalf of the three accused – Byrne, Maguire and Lawlor – but following a number of objections by the gardaí, Judge Hughes refused the applications. All four were granted free legal aid.
Superintendent Tom Calvey objected to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the offences and on the likelihood that should the accused be granted bail, they might commit further criminal offences.
During the 80 minute hearing, Supt Calvey told the court that €30,000 in cash was stolen from a house in Bohola and it is yet to be recovered. He said that if the accused were released, the stolen money may be disposed of.
The court also heard that a list of potential burglary targets compiled by the gang had been found in a Seat Leon vehicle believed to have been used by the suspects, which has now been seized by gardaí. Detective Sergeant Michael Doherty told the court that they believed those on the list were at risk of further burglaries.
Giving evidence in respect of the objections to the bail applications, Detective Sergeant Doherty and Garda Damian Ryder both outlined that Mr Heneghan’s home was unoccupied on Friday last (September 20) when €1,000 cash, €500 in coins, a cheque for €500 and a Revenue cheque for €243 was stolen.
The court heard that when Mr Heneghan returned home, he found the door unlocked with pictures knocked off the wall and a bedroom door forced open.
Both Det Sgt Doherty and Garda Ryder said that as a result of a subsequent garda search of a house by gardaí from Claremorris and Castlebar, supervised by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the Revenue cheque stolen from Facefield had been recovered.
The court also heard that the Seat Leon car found at the house matched the description of one that had been used in two previous burglaries in separate locations in Castlebar at Saleen and at The Brambles.
The court heard that Shane Byrne has a total of 35 previous convictions, seven of which were committed while he was on bail.
Dean Maguire has a total of 24 convictions, six of which he had committed while on bail as an adult. In 2018 he had been convicted in the UK and sentenced to four years in prison for perverting the court of justice. Three years of the four prison sentence imposed was suspended and, after serving seven months of the 12-month prison sentence, he arrived in Ireland.
Judge Hughes said it greatly concerned him that the accused had been given a suspended sentence in the UK to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
In the case of Daniel Lawlor, Judge Hughes was told he has 45 convictions, three of which were committed while he was on bail.
In respect of Shane Byrne, Dean Maguire and Daniel Lawlor, the judge refused bail. He remanded all three in custody to appear at Harristown (Castlerea Prison) District Court on Friday next, September 27.
Due to the absence of previous convictions in the case of Gerry Wall, the judge granted bail subject to strict conditions including that he sign on daily at Tallaght Garda Station between hours of 9am and 6pm; that he reside at Fortunestown Crescent; that he not apply for a passport and that he notifies prosecuting officer, Detective Sergeant Doherty, of any travel plans. Wall was then remanded on bail to appear before Castlebar District Court on November 5.