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Decrease in Leinster burglaries attributed by gardaí to deaths of three criminals in N7 crash

The deaths of Tallaght criminals Graham Taylor (31), Karl Freeman (26) and Dean Maguire (29) made international headlines
nset from left, crash victims Dean Maguire, Karl Freeman and Graham Taylor

nset from left, crash victims Dean Maguire, Karl Freeman and Graham Taylor

Ken Foy

A significant decrease in burglaries in most Leinster counties is being attributed by senior gardaí to the deaths of three prolific criminals as well as a number of arrest operations.

The deaths of Tallaght criminals Graham Taylor (31), Karl Freeman (26) and Dean Maguire (29) made international headlines after the car they were travelling in collided head-on with a lorry as it drove the wrong way down the N7 near Rathcoole on the night of July 7.

The three criminals who had over 200 previous convictions between them were main players in a gang who used the motorway network to carry out burglaries in rural areas.

Figures obtained by the Herald suggest there has been a major drop in this type of crime over recent weeks in most of the garda divisions where they were most active.

The grave of Dean Maguire at Newlands Cross cemetery

The grave of Dean Maguire at Newlands Cross cemetery

In the Laois/ Offaly Garda Division there were 19 non- aggravated burglaries in August compared to 39 in June when the gang were said to be “very much active”.

The figure for July in the division was 17 burglaries meaning that overall there was a 34pc increase compared to the previous three months but sources say that the high figure in June accounts for this rise.

In Kildare there were 35 burglaries in June which jumped to 42 in July and then dropped to 22 last month with most of these crimes happening in the north of the county.

According to the Central Statistics Office there were 116 burglaries recorded in the counties of Laois, Offaly and Kildare between July and September 2020.

The Meath/Westmeath garda division has also seen a recent drop in burglaries.

Dean Maguire funeral video stills

Dean Maguire funeral video stills

There were 60 recorded burglaries in the two counties in June this year – but this more than halved last month, dropping to 27. Twenty-nine incidents were recorded in July.

The best performing garda division in Leinster is the Kilkenny/Carlow division which will soon merge with Waterford and has seen a 43pc decrease in burglaries over the past three months compared to the previous three months.

Due to a robust policing plan under Operation Tara, this division had only 11 burglaries in each of the months of August and July compared with 10 in June.

In Co Wicklow non-aggravated burglaries were down 34pc in the past three months compared to the previous three months.

Last month there were 22 burglaries in the county compared to 23 in June and 11 in July.

Co Wexford was the only area which saw a major increase in burglaries in August with 40 incidents last month compared with 19 in June and 26 in July with sources saying that the spike is linked to organised gangs targeting the Gorey area of the county in August.

Gardaí believe Taylor, Freeman and Maguire regularly targeted properties in the Carlow/Kilkenny division. Some members of their gang were facing arrest after being caught on CCTV taking part in a burglary in April.

Officers do not believe there is a seasonal reason that could account for the drop in burglaries.

“Gardai are certain that the very low figures in the counties over the summer are directly linked to the fact that these individuals are no longer with us as well as the fact that there has been some very significant arrests in the last few months,” said a source.

Dean Maguire's casket

Dean Maguire's casket

A special policing plan is in operation in the Carlow/Kilkenny division which means that resources are deployed to areas that are considered hotspots.

A number of significant arrests were made in late May including of a criminal linked to the Tallaght gang after he rammed a garda patrol car in Co Tipperary when Kilkenny gardai were investigating a stolen car incident.

The funerals of the three criminals gained international headlines in July after gifts including a torch and screwdriver were placed beside Dean Maguire’s coffin.

The glorification of criminality at Maguire’s funeral at St Mary’s Priory in Tallaght on Friday, July 16, shocked the wider public, and prompted the clergy involved to call gardaí, as the numbers attending the service got out of control.

The driver of the car Karl Freeman had previous convictions for offences including dangerous driving, endangerment, burglary, assault, and unlawful taking of a car and a judge previously called him “a menace to society”.

His pal Dean Maguire who had around 30 previous criminal convictions was last in the Irish prison system in December, 2019.

Gardaí consider Graham Taylor of Kiltalown Park in Tallaght to be the “most significant criminal” of the three who were tragically killed in the horror crash.

Taylor was released from his latest jail sentence in April and was considered “an organiser” who oversaw a nationwide crime spree.

With over 120 previous convictions, the majority for driving offences, Taylor was jailed for two and a half years in April, 2019, after being involved in a high-speed car chase while serving a 40-year-driving ban.

He was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury following a trial earlier this year of three counts of endangerment and three counts of dangerous driving in Tallaght on June 19, 2016.

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