Seven men remanded in custody in relation to a burglary during which a Killenaule family was “terrorised” by an armed gang are due back in court in Cashel tomorrow (Thursday).
The seven men, all with addresses in north Dublin city, were arrested hours after the incident at the rural house owned by business couple Mark and Emma Corcoran at Burnchurch near Killenaule.
Each of the suspects has been charged with one count of aggravated burglary at the house on November 24 last. The maximum sentence if convicted is life imprisonment.
The men arrived at Cashel courthouse for a special sitting on Sunday morning in a number of marked and unmarked garda cars, with armed regional support teams accompanying the convoy.
A number of family members of the men gathered outside the courthouse as the suspects were brought inside, and then sat in the body of the court while waiting for the remand hearing to begin.
Those charged are John Joyce (19) of 1 Lentisk Lawn, The Donaghies, Donaghmede, Dublin; Patrick Joyce (21) of 33 Beaumont Hall, Beaumont Woods, Dublin 9; Michael McDonagh (22) of 5 Tara Lawns, Belcamp Lane, Coolock, Dublin 17; Thomas Flynn (19) of 27 Moatview Avenue, Coolock, Dublin 17, Donal O’Hara (21) of 29 Glin Park, Coolock, Dublin 17; Dean Byrne (21) of Flat 1, 27 Cabra Park, Dublin 7, and Patrick Gately (26) of Primrose Grove, Darndale, Dublin 17.
The court heard that Patrick Gately said “no comment” when charged by gardaí; Dean Byrne said “I’ll say it in court” when charged in a garda station and Donal O’Hara said “I wasn’t in that f..king house” when charged. The others made no reply.
All seven are unemployed and free legal aid was granted by Judge Finn in all cases.
The only accused to apply for bail was Donal O’Hara but this was opposed by the state.
In the witness box to oppose bail, Detective Sergeant James White said Mr O’Hara was one of a group who left Dublin last week and carried out an aggravated burglary in a remote, rural location outside Killenaule.
Their vehicle broke down on the way down, near the toll plaza in Co Laois, but they stole another in Co Kilkenny and made their way to Burnchurch, outside Killenaule, arriving at 3.15am.
They failed to kick in the front door of the house occupied by Emma and Mark Corcoran and their three daughters, aged 8, 6 and 3, and instead smashed open the sitting-room window.
“It will be alleged that those involved entered the property and terrorised the family in the household,” the sergeant said.
They were armed with firearms and a machete, he said, and Mark Corcoran was assaulted during the incident and suffered blood loss. Threats were made to the family, including to the children who were woken by the sound of the attack on their home, the witness said.
Emma Corcoran was woken by the sound and managed to call 999 and a recording of the emergency call was made. “It’s alleged that this recording clearly outlined the threats that were made in relation to what was demanded and also the distress of the children can be heard in the background,” he said.
The gang fled the scene, having taken a sum of money, in two vehicles including the family’s own car, but were later arrested in Laois and Kildare. Blood staining found by the gardaí matched the blood of Mark Corcoran, Sergeant White said, while there was mobile phone tracking of calls between the vehicles prior to the arrests.
Chinese currency was taken from the Corcorans’ home and some Chinese currency was found in the rear of the vehicle in which Donal O’Hara was travelling.
The sergeant told the court that a “substantial quantity of jewellery” and two firearms used in the incident still haven’t been recovered and it was his belief that, if granted bail, Mr O’Hara would attempt to dispose of these items.
Judge Terence Finn refused the bail application and remanded all seven suspects in custody.