Gang brothers Eddie and Michael O’Loughlin jailed for 9 years
TWO brothers were yesterday jailed for nine years for membership of a criminal organisation -- the first such sentence under new anti-gang legislation.
Judge Martin Nolan praised the work of the garda investigation, Operation Foolscap, which resulted in the arrest of Eddie and Michael O'Loughlin and 10 of their associates.
The O'Loughlin brothers, from Galway, had originally been charged with operating a criminal organisation but they entered guilty pleas to the lesser charge of membership after two weeks at trial. They faced a maximum of 15 years in prison under the 2009 Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act.
Det Insp Gerard Roche said if Eddie O'Loughlin's activities had not been halted "he would have been one of the most dangerous individuals in the western region, which is why the operation was put in place to stop him".
Michael O'Loughlin (32), of Rahylin Glebe, Ballybane, and his brother Eddie (28), of Rockfield Park, Rahoon, both pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of a criminal organisation in the Galway area between February 10 and June 1, 2010.
The court heard that gardai set up an operation to target organised criminal activity in Galway city in September 2009 and listening devices were installed in cars used by the brothers.
Gardai recorded more than 110 days of conversations relating to the planned criminal activities of the group and were then able to put a stop to four burglaries and seize three caches of drugs, leading to the convictions of the brothers' accomplices.
Both men were arrested in June 2010 after the gardai had successfully obtained 15 warrants to search their homes and those of their accomplices. The searches led to 12 arrests.
Eddie McLoughlin, a father of two, has 48 previous convictions, while Michael, also a father of two, has 50 previous convictions.