De­tec­tives thought Real IRA was plan­ning a kid­nap­ping

IN­QUEST GANG MEM­BER WAS SHOT DEAD AF­TER POINT­ING GUN AT GAR­DAÍ IN 1998

Bray People - - NEWS -

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.

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