Belfast Telegraph

Drinkers tackle 'gunman' and call time on armed raid at pub

An armed and masked raider was tackled to the ground by three customers after trying to hold up a pub.

The would-be robber was jumped by regulars in the Speaker Connolly in the Firhouse area of Dublin after threatening two members of staff and about a dozen drinkers around closing time on New Year's Night.

One of the pub managers, Jason Doyle, said: "We couldn't have been more thankful for them.

"Obviously we didn't know at the time that the gun was imitation. We thought we were in serious trouble. But they showed no fear. And we've told them already that they'll be looked after.

"It just seemed to be the wrong night for your man."

The brave customers, all believed to be in their 30s, have been regulars in the pub on and off for the last few months.

The attempted hold-up began as one of the bar staff was pulling down the shutters of the pub at closing time, around midnight.

He was approached by a lone raider wearing a balaclava and carrying what looked like an Uzi-type sub-machine gun.

Mr Doyle said: "I wasn't there initially but he shouted 'This is the IRA. This is a robbery' - something along those lines.

"The barman originally thought that it was a laugh, that someone was messing. It was only when he was brought into the porch of the pub and asked what's the best way in and out without being seen that he realised."

About a dozen people were still in the bar when the incident occurred.

The raider marched the barman into the pub with the gun at his neck and ordered drinkers out of the front bar and into the lounge.

He 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 this huge commotion.

"Three of the lads had jumped over the counter, burst into the kitchen, caught him off guard and wrestled him to the ground and gave him a bit of a hiding and held him down."

An off-duty detective was also in the pub and called gardai while another member of staff had pressed a panic button.

The raider was disarmed on the kitchen floor and restrained until g ardai arrived on the scene a few minutes later.

The Garda helicopter was also dispatched to the area.

A man in his 30s was arrested at the pub and a suspected firearm was recovered, gardai said.

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