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Former Armagh GAA star who organised cash machine raids is jailed


Danny O’Callaghan. Credit: Darren Kidd

Danny O’Callaghan. Credit: Darren Kidd

Danny O’Callaghan. Credit: Darren Kidd

An All-Ireland winning club footballer from south Armagh who planned rural ATM raids for a “well-oiled” crime group has been jailed for 10 years.

Former Crossmaglen Rangers player Daniel O’Callaghan (32) was a central member of the gang that stole almost €800,000 (£662,700) in a five-month period between 2018 and 2019.

The criminal network had targeted five cash machines but were finally caught during a Garda surveillance operation in Cavan.

He is the fifth and final member of the criminal organisation to be jailed, with prison sentences totalling over 32 years given to the ATM theft gang.

In the Special Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday the crimes were described as “audacious and meticulous”, involving the same modus operandi and the theft of “eye-watering sums”.

Ms Justice Tara Burns said that O’Callaghan, of Monog Road in Crossmaglen, was a “planner” and played a “central role” in the raids.

This, she said, was evident in the fact that he was in a stolen vehicle at the scene of the attempted theft in Virginia, Co Cavan, on August 14, 2019.

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The judge added that O’Callaghan had control of more than €400,000 which was seized from the gang’s operation centre in Tullypole, Meath, in the days after the failed raid. The accused was identified by surveillance officers and managed to flee the scene but was later arrested.

The judge said he was caught “red-handed” but he denied the charges and was brought to trial.

In January, a non-jury court convicted O’Callaghan of 16 offences, including theft, criminal damage, and money laundering.

The former GAA star was also found guilty of the theft of an ATM in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, in April 2019.

Yesterday he was handed concurrent jail terms, the most serious of which were for involvement in a criminal gang, for which he received a 10-year sentence.

Testimonies on behalf of the accused were submitted and Ms Justice Burns said they “speak highly” of him. But the judge also noted that although O’Callaghan had a very successful GAA career he had not continued with any community involvement.

Last week brothers Stephen, Gerard, and Ciaran Duffy were jailed for their key roles with the ATM theft gang.

Stephen Duffy (35), of Tullynahinera in Castleblayney was sentenced to four years in jail for possessing stolen cash at The Yard in Tullypole, Moynalty, Co Meath.

Gerard Duffy (31), of Loughnamore in Monaghan, was jailed for seven years and nine months for the attempted theft of an ATM at the Riverfront Restaurant on the Main Street in Virginia, Co Cavan. The court rejected claims that he was simply a lookout for the attempted theft.

The youngest sibling Ciaran (28), also of Loughnamore in Monaghan, was given seven years and nine months imprisonment for the attempted bank machine theft and participating in the movement in cash on behalf of a criminal organisation.

A fifth gang member, GAA referee Niall Finnegan (39), from Armagh, was previously jailed for three years for handling the gang’s stolen cash.

The gang had targeted bank machines in Ballybay and Castleblayney in Co Monaghan, Kingscourt in Co Cavan, and two ATMs on the same night in Kellls, Co Meath. The crimes were carried out between December 2018 and April 2019, prior to the botched Virginia robbery that led to their arrests.

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