At Ennis Circuit Court this week, Martin Considine, aged 32, of Lower Clarehill, Clarecastle, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to stealing €3,200 in cash from Broadford post office in south east Clare on September 4, 2009.
In court, Garda Pat Keane praised the actions of postmistress Yvonne McLoughlin who, he said, delayed Considine by insisting the money be counted for insurance reasons before handing it over.
Garda Keane said the delay allowed gardaí get a much better description of Considine and helped solve the crime.
Ms McLoughlin — who wasn’t in court on Monday — said yesterday: “It was a very, very, frightening experience. I have lived in Liverpool and worked in Manchester where I never came across anything like this and you don’t expect to be held at gunpoint in sleepy old Broadford.”
Aged 58, Ms McLoughlin said Considine, with his face covered by a scarf, approached the shop counter at 3.30pm on a Friday, raised his gun and pointed it at her face and told her, “This is a robbery.”
She said yesterday: “I thought, duh, of course it’s a robbery. I told him: ‘Okay, let’s be calm about this’.”
The postmistress had activated the alarm without Considine noticing and delayed him by insisting she had to count the money for insurance purposes.
She said: “I was shaking. You never know how someone like that with a gun will react.”
Garda Keane said gardaí never recovered the gun but Considine told them it was a replica weapon — which gardaí did not dispute.
Ms McLoughlin said Considine told her, “I’m sorry” as he pointed the gun at her and later repeated “I’m sorry” as he exited.
She said: “He was a gentleman robber. A polite robber. His whole manner was apologetic. He was polite and not verbally threatening in any way.”
Mr Lorcan Connolly BL said the raid was “amateurish” and said that he had carried out the robbery to pay off drug debts to “dark forces”.
Mr Connolly said Considine — a father of three — was getting treated for his addiction to heroin.
Adjourning the matter for one year, Judge Moran said Considine is facing the possibility of a three-year sentence.