Printer caught selling counterfeit notes to suspected IRA man has sentence cut

Richard Molloy
Richard Molloy

A printer caught selling €20,000 in counterfeit bills to a suspected IRA man, and found to have a further €2 million in preparation, has had his prison sentence cut on appeal.

Richard Molloy (45), of Preston Heights, Kilmeague, Naas, Co Kildare, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of equipment for the production of counterfeit notes at Barstown Commercial Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath on February 2, 2014.

He was sentenced to six years imprisonment by Judge Patricia Ryan on November 6, 2015.

Molloy successfully appealed his sentence today with the Court of Appeal holding that the Circuit Court judge erred in failing to explain the overall rationale for the sentence. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal imposed a four year jail term.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice John Edwards said members of the Special Detective Unit had been monitoring the activities of suspected IRA members in Dublin when they observed two men arriving outside a pub in Phibsborough.

One of them entered the pub and and sat down at a table while the other remained outside in a car with the engine running.

Some time later, Molloy was seen entering the pub. He walked straight towards the man seated, placed a package down on a chair and picked up a package the IRA suspect placed under a newspaper.

The IRA suspect left, got into the waiting car and at this point the gardaí intervened.

The package was retrieved and found to contain 400 conterfeit €50 notes amounting to €20,000 in total.

Molloy was also searched and found to be possessing legitimate cash in the sum of €2,234.

His premises was subsequently searched and found to contain two Heidelberg colour off set printers - “which are substantial printing machines” - various powders, guillotines, other digital printers and paper.

In addition, gardaí found a further quantity of completed notes amounting to €189,000 and an additional quantity of only partly completed counterfeit notes amounting to €2,000,000 approximately.

“Some, though not all, of the counterfeit notes were considered to be of very good quality,” Mr Justice Edwards said.

Molly had no relevant previous convictions and was treated as a person of previous good character.

He had been involved in the printing trade for a number of years and had the technical knowledge, along with the equipment to produce the counterfeit currency.

The gardaí accepted that Molloy was experiencing financial difficulty in his business at the time and would have been under financial pressure. His partner was seriously ill when he was being sentenced and had since passed away.

The gardaí also accepted he was not a member of the IRA but was aware that the persons with whom he was dealing, were members or were involved with the IRA.

He had issues with alcohol and had made very poor decisions as a result of using and abusing alcohol over a period, the gardaí accepted.

Mr Justice Edwards said the sentencing judge regrettably failed to state how much allowance was to be given for the mitigating factors.

In those circumstances, the court could not be satisfied that sufficient credit for the mitigating factors was afforded to Molloy, the judge said.

He said the sentencing judge erred in failing to give an adequate overall explanation of the rationale for the sentence and erred in failing to record what discount was being afforded for mitigation.

Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, resentenced Molloy to five-and-a-half years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended.

Molloy was required to enter into a good behaviour bond for the suspended period and he undertook to be so bound.