Gang of thugs terrorise businesses and demand €20k after kidnapping man's son
A gang of thugs terrorising business people in a 'protection scam' demanded €20,000 from one entrepreneur after kidnapping his son.
The Co Wexford businessman says he has been subjected to a slew of threats and intimidation from the gang, who claim to be members of the Provisional IRA. Several businesses in the Gorey area are thought to have been targeted by the group reportedly led by 'Buffalo' Billy Clare.
The businessman said it was a "very scary experience".
"I have a business that is doing very well, and I have six or seven lads working for me, full-time and part-time," he said.
"They [the gang] see I'm doing well. It's not just me they're doing it to. I know that other places have been approached in the town."
"When they called first, they said they wanted €20,000. When they didn't get that, they rang 10 days later and wanted €2,500 within 24 hours."
"I told them they wouldn't be getting a penny from me. Then [they] came back looking for €4,500, or they would kill my son. They came on Wednesday night and broke the window and lit the petrol bomb outside... It could have been a lot more serious."
The businessman's son was also grabbed by four masked men from a street two weeks ago. "They threw him in the back of a van, tied him up, gave him a bit of a beating and dumped him in a forest."
The man has called on other businesses not to bow to the gang - adding that if he were to pay what they asked, it could close his business.
"This could close us down, and I've done nothing wrong," he said. "I won't be bullied by anyone. These lads are cowards."
Former biker gang member Clare was previously quizzed in connection with the murder of father-of-three Stephen O'Meara, who was buried alive in the Wicklow mountains in 2011. Clare served a sentence for membership of the Continuity IRA (CIRA) after a court heard he had extorted money from club boss Dave Mooney on behalf of the organisation.
It is understood that the CIRA has since renounced him.