Those involved in the theft of two ATMs in Dundalk, Co Louth overnight “were reckless” in relation to the impact of their actions on Gardai.
That’s according to Garda Superintendent Gerry Curley, Dundalk, who said that as well as burning two cars at the garda station, they also rammed two garda patrol cars as they attempted to make their escape.
Speaking this morning, Superintendent Curley said, “the actions of these people are reckless.”
A car was placed outside each of the two entrances to Dundalk Garda station and set alight. This was to hinder the Gardai responding to the raid.
Superintendent Curley said that those responsible “absolutely would not” have been bothered if any Garda had been injured by their actions.
However, he also confirmed that garda patrol cars were out in Dundalk and not at the Garda station at the time and Gardaí were able to respond to the incident within minutes.
The two banks, the AIB and the Ulster Bank are on Clanbrassil Street, the main thoroughfare in Dundalk town centre, and are practically beside each other. They are close to the Market Square and within view of the courthouse.
The gang succeeded in removing the ATMs and had begun their getaway but the Superintendent said, they were “pursued by Gardaí and with the co-operation of the PSNI and the assistance of the Air Support Unit some of those believed involved were subsequently arrested in Northern Ireland.”
He confirmed that two Garda patrol cars were rammed by the gang as they made their escape but no Garda was injured.
The PSNI also confirmed the arrest of three men and that ATMs have been recovered.
They said, ‘the suspects were pursued to the border by An Garda Siochana. PSNI officers were then able to establish their location and make the arrests.’
While they have to be forensically examined it is understood the ATMs are intact and no money was taken from them.
The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has commended the actions of An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
He said, “I am glad to see both police services working so closely together across the border to investigate this robbery and want to commend them for their swift response and close cooperation.”
“Both services are working flat out in difficult circumstances to help protect and support the public at this challenging time and, as always, they deserve our support and cooperation.”
“I would ask any member of the public with information to contact the Gardaí at Dundalk,” he added.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) representative for Louth, Garda Derek O’Donoghue, condemned the attempt to hinder the Gardai.
“It was a blatant attempt to stop members from doing their job. Thankfully no one was injured.” he said.
The chairperson of Dundalk Municipal District, Councillor John McGahon, said, “this was an extremely well organised and planned robbery at a time when the nation is staying indoors.”
“It is obvious how much planning was out into this when two burning cars were deliberately placed outside the Garda barracks in an effort to hinder the Garda’s response time to the incident.”
“Thankfully the individuals responsible for this were caught by the PSNI and again that’s another good example of cross border co-operation between both police forces on the island,” he added.