IRA jailbreaker questioned further on extortion bid

A former IRA jailbreaker was today detained for further questioning by gardaí in relation to yesterday’s armed extortion attempt in Co Cork.

A former IRA jailbreaker was today detained for further questioning by gardaí in relation to yesterday’s armed extortion attempt in Co Cork.

Anthony Sloan, who broke out of Crumlin Road Prison in 1981, was arrested yesterday in central Dublin and detained under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.

A garda spokesperson today confirmed that a third suspect for the alleged offences, whom security sources identified as Sloan, was authorised to be questioned for a further 24 hours at Cork’s Mayfield Garda Station.

Sloan and two other men were arrested after the alleged aggravated burglary and false imprisonment of millionaire businessman Gary O’Donovan and his wife Katie.

The couple were held for more than five hours at their home at Mount Oval Village in Rochestwn overnight on Monday.

The two other suspects had their periods of detention extended at Togher Garda Station at 4am today on the authority of a garda superintendent.

Gardaí said two men demanded money from MrO’Donovan, who runs a chain of off-licences in Cork city.

However, he escaped during the night, raised the alarm and two men were arrested fleeing from his home. A revolver and stun gun were later recovered.

Belfast-born Sloan was later arrested by detectives on Wicklow street in central Dublin.

From a strong republican family, he was convicted in 1981 of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition and of unlawful imprisonment of a British army captain and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

However, he and eight other prisoners escaped from Crumlin Road jail and came to the Republic of Ireland.

A year later he was arrested and convicted of the unlawful escape and served a sentence in Portlaoise jail.

In 2002 he took a High Court challenge to a Criminal Assets Bureau six-figure demand on unpaid taxes and penalties.

A detective inspector told the court Sloan was a very important member of the Provisional IRA between 1992-1995.

In an affidavit, Sloan said he ran a taxi business in Dundalk and the former North Eastern Health Board was one of his main clients.

He supported the Northern Ireland peace process in prison and in December 2000 got a Royal Pardon under the Good Friday Agreement.

He was arrested in 1999 in connection with the robbery of €1.3m worth of cigarettes from a train in Dunleer Co Louth but the case was not brought to prosecution.

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