Detectives thought Real IRA was planning a kidnapping
INQUEST GANG MEMBER WAS SHOT DEAD AFTER POINTING GUN AT GARDAÍ IN 1998
MEMBERS OF the Special Detective Unit who shot dead a member of the Real IRA during an attempted robbery of a Securicor van in Ashford in 1998 weren’t aware the six-man gang was even planning a robbery.
Speaking at an inquest inWicklow District Court into the death of Ronan McLoughlin, Basil Walsh, now retired but a detective superintendent at the time, said he thought the gang might have been attempting to kidnap a wealthy, local farmer for ransom.
The detective superintendent received a call from the National Surveillance Unit looking for assistance as a group of suspected Real-IRA mem- bers had been observed heading out of Dublin southwards on May 1. ‘I rang Inspector John Castles in Wicklow Garda Station to see if there were any wealthy farmers living in the area. That’s as little as we knew.’
It wasn’t until a Securicor van passed by that Special Branch detectives suspected that vehicle was in fact the intended target.
The raid took place on the day of gardai industrial action known as ‘Blue Flu’.
Mr. McLoughlin was shot by a member of the National Surveillance Unit after pointing his gun at members of the gardaí as they swooped on the raid. He died shortly afterwards.
County Coroner Cathal Louth at the inquest.