A MAN who extorted more than a quarter of a million euro from a fish and chip shop owner by threatening him with the Real IRA has been jailed for six years by the Special Criminal Court yesterday.
Sentencing him for IRA membership yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Butler said it was "abundantly clear that this activity was ordinary criminal racketeering and terrorising ordinary innocent people".
David Dodrill (31), a taxi driver and father of two, pleaded guilty last week to the IRA charge.
Chief Supt Diarmuid O'Sullivan told the court that over a period of two years Dodrill forced the Dublin chip shop owner to hand over about €164,000 and, in addition, to pay him €2,000 a week from 2010 to 2011, making an additional €100,000.
Dodrill of Plunkett Avenue, Finglas, Dublin, told the businessman last July that he would have to hand over the lease for his main premises in Mulhuddart, but could buy it back two years later for €300,000.
He also demanded €5,000 "compensation" because the shop owner had recorded their conversations.
"The reason the injured party did not want to come to court is that he was fearful of Dodrill because he has been threatened continuously since July, 2011 and he has been threatened to withdraw the statement he made to gardai", the garda officer said.
The guilty plea was "reluctantly" accepted.
Chief Supt Diarmuid O'Sullivan told the court gardai investigated the activities of the Real IRA in extorting funds from business people. He and Detective Garda Tom Doran met the injured party who reluctantly made a statement in July 2011 and was "in serious fear".
A surveillance operation was mounted and Dodrill was arrested.
In his statement, the injured party, who was not identified in court, said that he ran fish and chip businesses in Mulhuddart, Baldoyle, Kylemore and the Old Naas Road.
In September 2009 he was told to go to a pub on Dublin's northside where he was approached by Dodrill who told him they were taking over a loan of €30,000 that he owed.
"He said he was the Real IRA and he would come for me and my family in the night," the businessman told gardai.
He said Dodrill lifted his shirt and showed him tattoos of men in camouflage with balaclavas and guns and 'Oglaigh na hEireann' on his body. The tattoos "put him in fear of his life".
At later meetings the businesman was told that the entire debt with interest was now €164,000. He handed over several cheques and drafts to Dodrill. He also met him every Thursday night at a car park in Finglas and handed over €2,000, which he was told was €1,500 for the loan and €500 "for himself".
Last July the businessman was told they wanted the lease for his main premises which was worth €500,000 but that he could buy it back two years later for €300,000.
Dodrill came to his house one night and started hitting him, chipping a tooth, and telling him he was "being smart".
Gardai recorded the final meeting between them in July when the chip shop owner handed over €2,000. Dodrill said he wanted €5,000 for himself in compensation because the businessman had recorded some of their conversations. Dodrill told him: ''You are going to have to compensate me or I am going to break your legs."
Det Sgt Joe Higgins arrested Dodrill as he drove away in his taxi.