Man 'acting for IRA' threatened to burn farmer's sons if he didn't hand over cattle
A man who claimed to be acting on behalf of the IRA has been jailed for an attempt to extort livestock valued at €20,000 from a farmer.
The man was handed a three-year-jail sentence at a sitting of the Circuit Criminal Court in Monaghan.
But Judge Martin Nolan agreed to suspend 18 months of the jail term which he imposed on Marc Finnegan, 31, of Cullenstown, Readypenny, Dundalk, Co Louth, who pleaded guilty to demanding, with menaces, 18 in-calf heifers, valued at about €20,000, from Oliver Burns, at Mullinclavin, Magheracloone, Co. Monaghan.
The court was told that threats were made during a phone call on July 9, 2011, and that Finnegan claimed to be a member of the IRA. He had threatened Mr. Burns himself, and also his wife and sons.
Similar threats were also made in a second phone call two days later.
Detective Garda Oliver Flaherty, in response to questions from Mr. Frank Martin BL, prosecuting counsel, confirmed that that the victim in this case was a farmer based at Magheracloone in South Monaghan who specialised in cattle dealing.
During a conversation that lasted 45 minutes, Finnegan stated he was from the IRA, and had warned that Mr. Burns’s sons would be taken across the Border in a van and burned, that his wife, who worked in a Garda station, would be sacked, and that his cattle business would be closed down.
The call was recorded by Mr Burns’s 17-year-old son, who happened to pick up a receiver in another room, the court was told.