NewsCrime Desk

Member of notorious burglary gang almost loses arm in prison attack

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
Donal O’Hara
Donal O’Hara

A MEMBER of a barbaric home invasion gang had his arm almost severed in a horrific prison attack.

Donal O’Hara – one of a gang of seven gun-wielding thugs who attacked the home of the Corcoran family at Burnchurch in south Tipperary in November 2013 – had the tendons in his arm severed and was beaten with metal poles in what authorities believe was retaliation for an attack on a woman.

The attack is believed to have been carried out after a €5,000 hit was put out on 24-year-old O’Hara’s head by former associates from north Dublin.

A source confirmed that O’Hara has now been placed in protective custody as he recovers from his injuries.

“O’Hara was badly beaten and his arm is in a very bad way,” a source told the Sunday World.

“The attack was carried out by another inmate who subsequently told authorities it related to an incident involving a woman.

“He said he had no choice as he had been told to do it, but would not identify where the order had come from.”

Authorities probing the attack nevertheless believe the threat against O’Hara has originated from former associates in north Dublin.

Last October, O’Hara was one of seven men sentenced to a total of 105 years in prison for one of the most horrific and violent home intrusions to take place in Ireland in the last decade.

He was part of a seven-man gang that broke into the home of Mark and Emma Corcoran at Burnchurch, near Killenaule, in November 2013. 

The raiders were armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a handgun and a machete and threatened to kill the children in the ordeal. 

Two of the men - Dean Byrne (22), of Cabra Park and Patrick Gately (27), of Primrose Grove in Darndale, were both sentenced to 20 years in prison, both with four suspended.

John Joyce (20), of Lentisk Lawn, Donaghmede was sentenced to 15 years with four suspended and Patrick Joyce, (22), of Beaumont Hall, Beaumont Woods was sentenced to 14 years with four suspended.

Thomas Flynn (20), of Moatview Avenue, Coolock was jailed for 12 years with three suspended, while Michael McDonagh (23), of Tara Lawns, Belcamp Lane, Coolock and

Donal O’Hara from Glin Park in Coolock were both sentenced to 12 years, both with seven suspended.

This meant O’Hara would effectively serve less than four years for his role in the horror robbery.

The seven men are part of a family-based criminal gang from Coolock in north Dublin.

The sentencing court heard an awful lot of violence was used and the violation of all the rights associated with the family and family home had been committed by the gang.

During the burglary Mrs Corcoran managed to dial 999 and left her mobile phone turned on for around seven minutes.

Gardaí in Thurles could hear what was happening during the raid.

Detective Sergeant James  White had told the court that he had heard the subsequent recording a number of times and one of the most audible things on it is the terrified, piercing screams of the children.

The gang had threatened to put a screwdriver up Mr Corcoran’s nose and told him they would cut off his feet. Mrs Corcoran said she told the raiders that her children were in the house and was told “we’ll kill your f***ing kids”.

Earlier this year O’Hara escaped the imposition of additional time behind bars after he was convicted of having punched his 32-week pregnant girlfriend in the face.