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Band of brothers Three brothers who were part of gang that stole nearly €800k in ATM raids are jailed

The sentences handed out to the three brothers totalled 19 years and six months.


Stephen (35) Ciaran (27) and Gerard (31) Duffy sentenced in relation to the ATM thefts.

Stephen (35) Ciaran (27) and Gerard (31) Duffy sentenced in relation to the ATM thefts.

Stephen (35) Ciaran (27) and Gerard (31) Duffy sentenced in relation to the ATM thefts.

Three Monaghan brothers who were part of a crime gang that stole almost €800,000 in "mysterious" ATM thefts have been jailed for a total of almost 20 years.

Stephen, Gerard, and Ciaran Duffy were key members of the criminal network that used stolen diggers to target five bank machines in Cavan, Monaghan and Meath between December 2018 and April 2019.

However, the mob were finally caught during a major garda surveillance operation as they tried to target a sixth ATM in Cavan in August 2019.

They were today sentenced at the Special Criminal Court in relation to that attempted theft and handling "eye watering sums" from the ATM robberies.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt this morning said that, while the brothers can only be dealt with on the charges they have pleaded guilty to, the wider number of thefts give a broader picture necessary for the court's evaluation of the crimes.

He said the they took into account the serious criminal organisation involved, the damage caused to buildings and cash machines, and the significant planning that was involved.


Gerard Duffy

Gerard Duffy

Gerard Duffy

Stephen Duffy (35), of Tullynahinera in Castleblayney was sentenced to four years imprisonment for possessing stolen cash at The Yard in Tullypole, Moynalty, Co Meath.

Mr Justice Hunt said offered assistance to the crime gang involved in the theft of "eye watering sums" of money from ATMs in rural areas.

Gerard Duffy (31), of Loughnamore in Monaghan, was jailed for a total of seven years and nine months for the attempted theft of an ATM at at the Riverfront Restaurant on the Main Street in Virginia, Co Cavan.

The court said that he played an important and direct role in the crime and rejected his claims that he was simply a lookout for the attempted theft.

The youngest sibling Ciaran (28), also of Loughnamore in Monaghan, was given a total of seven years and nine months imprisonment for the attempted bank machine theft and participating in the movement in cash on behalf of a criminal organisation.

The judges said that he played an "important, direct and intentional part" by using his skills to extract and remove the ATM, and persisted in criminality by returning to the "operation centre" after his arrest and helping to dig up cash.

The sentences handed out to the three brothers totalled 19 years and six months. All three guilty pleas by the accused were taken into consideration by the court.

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Mr Justice Hunt said the court expressed considerable surprise that persons with the employment and social history of the accused would be involved in such extensive criminality. All three had worked in Australia and certificates of good behaviour were handed in. The court also complimented the gardaí for their investigation and "solving the mystery of these thefts".

Former All-Ireland club football champion Daniel O'Callaghan, who the non-jury court found was "intimately involved" with the criminal gang, will be sentenced later for several offences relating to the thefts.

A fifth gang member, GAA referee Niall Finnegan (39) from Armagh, was previously jailed for three years for handling the gang's stolen cash.


 Stephen Duffy (35), of Tullynahinera, Castleblayney, Monaghan

Stephen Duffy (35), of Tullynahinera, Castleblayney, Monaghan

Stephen Duffy (35), of Tullynahinera, Castleblayney, Monaghan

In the early hours of August 14, 2019, after stealing a digger from a nearby site, the gang travelled in convoy to the ATM in Virginia and were about to target it when they were rammed by gardaí from the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).

The gang fled and Gerard Duffy was arrested in a nearby field while his brother Ciaran, who had been in the bucket of the excavator, was detained several hours later hiding in a hotel toilet.

Daniel O'Callaghan (31), of Monog Road in Crossmaglen, Armagh, managed to escape but was later arrested. Following a trial, he was last month found guilty of theft, money laundering and possession of more than €400,000 stolen by the gang.

After his arrest Gerard Duffy told gardaí "do you think I'm f****d?" and claimed he owed money after being threatened with being shot over a pub row.


Daniel O'Callaghan

Daniel O'Callaghan

Daniel O'Callaghan

Following the successful operation the yard in Tullypole, Meath, was put under surveillance and €298,000 in cash along with a money-counting machine were recovered.

Six days later Stephen and Ciaran Duffy- who had just been released from garda custody- as well as Niall Finnegan were observed a Toyota Avensis at the yard.

They were observed by members of the Garda National Surveillance Unit (NSU) using a digger at the back of the yard and when the Avensis was searched gardaí found €103,930 in the footwell and boot of the vehicle.

Gardaí also searched the home of Stephen Duffy and found €15,000 stashed in a ride-along lawnmower.

Detective garda Vincent O'Boyle told the court that Ciaran Duffy has no previous convictions, but Gerard Duffy had eight, all of which were dealt with at District Court level.

He said Stephen Duffy had 11 previous convictions that included trespassing, handling and possessing stolen property, and criminal damage.

The gang targeted bank machines in Ballybay and Castblayney in Monaghan, Kingscourt in Cavan, and two ATMS on the same night in Kellls, Co Meath.

The crimes were carried out between December 2018 and April 2019 prior to the botched Virgina robbery that August.

A total of 31 ATM thefts had been carried out on both sides of the Border in the first eight months of 2019 with the then Minister for Justice raising his concerns about the spate of robberies.

Gardaí suspected that at least two other crime groups were involved in organised ATMs, while security agencies have suggested that copycat criminals may also have carried out some raids.

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