Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Bank security to be discussed after €7.6m raid

Senior Irish police are to meet today with management from financial institutions to discuss security procedures following the largest bank robbery in the Republic’s history.

At least half of the cash stolen in the 7 million euro (£6.2m) ’tiger’ kidnap raid - has now been recovered.

The cash was seized when a man was arrested after a chase along the M50 motorway around Dublin on Friday night. Two bails of cash containing some 4 million euro were recovered, according to Gardai sources.

A fundamental review is being carried out in a bid to similar heists do not happen again.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, who has already raised concerns over why procedures were not followed, has also spoken with Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy about the raid.

The Minister's spokesman said: "These procedures are in place to fundamentally ensure the safety of bank employees.

"The operating of these procedures, if done correctly, also ensures criminal gangs will not target individual bank employees because if the system is operating effectively there would not be any point in targeting an individual.

"The Minister has discussed the issue over the weekend with the Garda Commissioner.

"He is also pleased with the response of the gardai, in particular of reports that over half of the money stolen was recovered."

Six men and a woman, arrested during a fast moving operation after officers identified a north Dublin crime gang as prime suspects for the heist at the Bank of Ireland landmark branch in central Dublin, remained in custody last night.

They are being held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and can be held for up to 72 hours before they have to be charged or released.

Their ages range from the early 20s to late 30s, said a Garda spokesman. They are being questioned at five Garda stations across Dublin - Blanchardstown, Bridewell, Finglas, Mountjoy and Pearse Street.

Five cars and a van seized during the Garda operation are being examined by forensic experts and ten houses have been searched.

Elite Garda and detective units sprung into action following the robbery - a junior bank employee Shane Travers who manned the bank, was forced to take wads of brand new notes from the company safes on College Green as his girlfriend Stephanie Smith, her mother Joan and Joan’s six-year-old grandson were held hostage at gunpoint.

Six armed men forced their way into the Smith family home in rural Co Kildare - where Mr Travers had been watching TV - and held the family overnight.

He was forced to drive to the bank at 7.00am and fill laundry bags with cash before opening time after the women and little boy were tied up and bundled into a van and driven from the house.

He handed the money over at the railway station at Clontarf.

It was a robbery plot similar to that carried out by the IRA at the Northern Bank in Belfast when £26.5 million was taken in a pre-Christmas raid in December 2004.

Four of those in custody were arrested in a car in Philsboro and two more in a house nearby.

The house, at Great Western Villas, together with the Smith family home, remain sealed off last night.

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