NewsCrime Desk

Notorious traveller clan say their money came from compo claims, not burglary

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
Patrick Beag and his family
Patrick Beag and his family

A TRAVELLER clan identified as key targets of the Garda anti-burglary drives Operation Fiacla and Operation Thor this week hit back: “Prove we’re bandits or leave us alone.”

In the clan’s first interview, Patrick Rubber Og O’Reilly and his son Patrick Beag O’Reilly insist they have bought their lands, vehicles and caravans with the proceeds of insurance compensation claims and are not in any way behind the rural burglary epidemic.

Our exclusive CCTV footage shows members of the Regional Response Unit arriving at the clan’s new halting site in Brownswood, Enniscorthy, at 1.30am on Tuesday last to arrest Rubber Og and his son Patrick in connection with the robbery of 90-year-old Aubery Fuller in Wexford the previous evening.

Our reporter with Patrick Beag

However, Gardaí were forced to release them without charge the following morning after the pair directed them to a chipper in Enniscorthy where CCTV showed them enjoying dinner at the time the robbery occurred.

Rubber Og achieved public notoriety in 2011 after he was sentenced to six years in prison for violent disorder arising from the infamous 2011 brawl at the Smithfield Horse fair.

In 2003, Rubber Og’ – who had clocked up a total of 75 previous convictions – was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of a gun arising from a pitched battle at a halting site in Cork.

This week the pair admitted to the Sunday World “we’re no angels”, but denied being the masterminds behind an epidemic of rural robberies.

CCTV of garda raid on O'Reilly family home

Speaking at a €75,000 site in Wexford which the O’Reillys moved to in December, Patrick Beag (28), said: “We were only down here a couple of days when we started getting hassle from the guards.

 “The site here came from compensation claims and it was bought for very bad money because it’s not worth nothing.”

Backing up his son’s account about the origins of the family’s money, Rubber Og told us: “My wife got claims, she was in a car accident and she got other claims. And I can prove that she got money for claims – €20,000, €30,000 claims.”

Asked about a Criminal Assets Bureau probe into the family’s finances, Patrick Beag said: “That was back in 2005 and they seized stuff on my grandfather and my aunts and all.

“There’s plenty of ways to make money more than robbing. There’s plenty of people working and not paying their taxes… maybe that’s the reason why. There are people not paying their taxes and they’re not going to be branded as robbers and criminals.”

Patrick Rubber Og added: “They were after us for money laundering, but we lost the cars and that was it. They never got a judgement.”

Asked about the seizure of vehicles from the family two months ago, Rubber Og denied the seizure related in any way to allegations of burglary.

“They came in a couple of months ago and took a caravan out of the yard which my wife had bought in good faith,” he said.

Addressing the pair’s arrest last week for the robbery in Wexford of pensioner Aubery Fuller, Patrick Beag said that if the Gardaí can prove anything then they are welcome to come back and arrest him again.

“They arrested us over this old man last week. I feel very bad for this man and I wouldn’t like that happening to my family. I’ve no convictions for ever robbing any elderly people. I’ve never been inside the gate of a prison in my entire life.

“We told the Gardaí in the interview room that at the time of the burglary we could prove where we were.

“They said they had to wait until the chipper opened up and when they opened up the CCTV they could see I was there at the time of this robbery.

“And then the next day it was in the papers that we done it. It’s not fair.

“Whatever my father done, he’s done his time for it and it should be left off now. He’s never been in prison for robberies.

“Rubber Beags, Rubber Reillys and Rubber Ogs… these are only all bulls**t names people are making up.

“If we’re committing these burglaries and they’re putting so much surveillance on us, how come nobody has been charged.”

Rubber Og added: “They [the guards] are blaming us for absolutely everything that happens.

“I was done for Smithfield. And I got done for six years because one of my young fellas fired a shot and I didn’t even know he had the gun at the time.

“I’d be terrified now of getting my picture taken because my life is in danger. I suffered for what I done years ago, but I’ve paid my debt to society.

“I’ve done more good things in Ireland then I’ve done bad things.”