Violent gang linked to spate of robberies
THE gang behind yesterday's terror attack on a business couple and their young daughters are being linked to several other robberies from homes and retail premises.
Officers heavily involved in Operation Fiacla since it was set up 18 months ago to tackle the travelling gangs say the Coolock-based outfit have been in their top three targets.
Gardai said a hallmark of this gang was its use of violence, even though the proceeds of their robberies were usually relatively small.
They regard the operation yesterday as highly significant.
They believe that this gang, despite the relatively young age of its members, are prolific criminals, some of whom already have a history before the courts.
They have concentrated their efforts in the north-east, as most of their previous raids have been in Louth and Meath.
But they are also thought to have been responsible for at least one other robbery in Co Kilkenny and possibly others in Co Tipperary.
Gardai say the gang were obviously supplied with information about the Corcoran family by southern-based criminals but some of their intelligence was wrong.
The seven-strong gang, who burst into the house at Burnchurch, Killenaule, at 3am, were under the mistaken impression that the family kept a large sum of cash in their home. They made off with only €1,500 in cash and a quantity of jewellery.
The gang is one of a number of outfits who use their bases in areas like Coolock, Tallaght and Clondalkin to lie low after a spate of raids in rural areas and then go on the rampage again.
They often use high-powered cars that had been stolen days in advance.
As a result of the success of Operation Fiacla, the rise in burglaries and robberies has been curbed and the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show burglaries have decreased by 8.9pc.
Up to the end of October, Fiacla had resulted in the arrest of 6,972 persons, with 3,971 of them charged with burglary offences.