A suspected criminal gang of heartless burglars targeting the homes of people mourning the deaths of teen road crash victims, Oisín Cahill and Darragh Killeen was intercepted by Gardai last week.
The two cousins died in a single vehicle road crash outside Ennis in the early hours of Easter Sunday morning and huge crowds attended the removals and funeral masses of both Oisín (18) and Darragh (19) in the Kilmaley-Inch communities last week.
The removal of Oisín’s remains took place last Wednesday night in Kilmaley village and Chief Supt John Kerin told members of Clare’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) in Ennis today that Gardai patrolling the area on the night intercepted a car carrying a suspected criminal gang from outside Co Clare.
He said: “I have no doubt that it was a criminal gang that we encountered in the Kilmaley area. We are delighted we have been able to thwart those people.”
Chief Supt Kerin revealed that Gardaí had three unmarked patrol cars in the area protecting homes that were vacant for long periods during the removals and funeral masses from burglaries.
He said: “We were keeping an eye on the homes of people attending the funerals and not just the families themselves but families from the wider area because unfortunately, we were conscious that there are criminals who do target houses during funerals when such a tragedy receives national attention.”
Chief Supt Kerin said that around 8.30pm last Wednesday night, Gardai in the area stopped “a strange car with four or five people in it”.
“Ninety nine per cent of people can give legitimate reasons for being in an area but these people couldn’t give any legitimate grounds for being in that area - or even being in Co Clare at that time of night."
Chief Supt Kerin said: “We can never prove that they came to Clare to commit burglaries but there was no justification for them being in the area they were and they were very active criminals.”
Chief Supt Kerin said Garda computer checks on the night found that that one of the gang was on bail for burglary and other offence and had to be at his home by 11pm that night to abide by the conditions of his bail.
He said: "That person was warned to be back at his home for 11pm otherwise the case would be brought back before the courts for a breach of bail."
Chef Supt Kerin said: “We were delighted that the Gardai out and about got rid of those people out of the county before any crime was committed.”
Chief Supt Kerin remarked that “it is awful to think that people will do this to people living in country areas at times of tragedy. That is just the way they are - they are criminals”.
He said that it is a sad aspect of life that there are criminal elements out there who think ‘this is an area worth targeting’ after tragedy has struck.