Belfast Telegraph

Pair appear in court over alleged minibus hijacking

Cousins John and Stephen McDonagh face charges of the unauthorised taking of a vehicle following incidents at Dublin Airport and Co Monaghan.

Stephen McDonagh arrives at Cavan District Court (Cate McCurry/PA)
Stephen McDonagh arrives at Cavan District Court (Cate McCurry/PA)
John McDonagh arrives at Cavan District Court (Cate McCurry/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

Two men have appeared in court charged in connection to the alleged hijacking of a minibus from Dublin Airport.

John McDonagh, 26, and Stephen McDonagh, 25, with an address at The Steeples, Navan, Co Meath, appeared before Cavan District Court.

Both men face charges of the unauthorised taking of a vehicle following incidents at Dublin Airport and Co Monaghan.

The two men, who are cousins, were charged at Carrickmacross garda station on Wednesday. Both men made no reply.

Garda Ciaran Marks told the court that John McDonagh could be seen with Stephen McDonagh at Terminal One at Dublin Airport on Wednesday.

The court heard that the driver of a hotel courtesy minibus had left the vehicle outside the airport while he was assisting passengers.

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John McDonagh arrives at Cavan District Court (Cate McCurry/PA)

Three passengers were inside the minibus as they were waiting to be brought to a nearby airport hotel after their flight was delayed.

A Colombian woman, who was living in Germany, had been waiting for her flight home while two young English tourists had been returning home from a scouting holiday in America.

The two men are accused of getting inside the minibus and driving away at high speed with the doors open.

The minibus collided with a taxi as it left the airport and fled the scene in an erratic manner and at high speed.

They drove north on the M1 before stopping close to City North Hotel in Julianstown. It was claimed that the two men demanded money from the passengers, however they refused and got out of the minibus.

They were not harmed during the incident.

The defendants left the area and continued to drive towards the Irish border, however the car failed to stop for gardai and rammed into a garda car.

The pair continued across the border before the car rammed into a PSNI vehicle in Crossmaglen.

Garda Air Support Unit saw the car going back across the border before it crashed in Co Monaghan.

The two men got out and ran away before stealing a car from outside a house near Castleblayney.

The men were then involved in a high speed chase in which they drove erratically and later rammed into an Armed Response Unit.

The two men were then arrested.

The court was told that more serious charges may apply after it is reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

John McDonagh applied for bail, however the court heard that there are issues with his address in Navan.

His defence solicitor Damien Rudden told the court that he is anxious to be released on bail and that he would comply with any bail conditions.

Judge Denis McLoughlin refused the application stating he does not believe the defendant would comply with any bail conditions.

Stephen McDonagh did not make an application for bail.

His defence solicitor asked for her client not to be taken to Cloverhill Prison as he was concerned for his safety, however the judge refused saying that Cloverhill was the assigned prison for the Co Cavan and Co Monaghan area.

Both men have been remanded to Cloverhill prison until January 16.

PA

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