'Tiger' cash recovered in series of home raids
Five arrested as gardai investigate kidnapping of AIB official's wife
A LARGE amount of cash from last week's 'tiger kidnap' in Clondalkin has been recovered in a series of raids on homes in Kildare and Dublin.
Five people have been arrested as part of the investigation into the abduction of an AIB bank official and his wife and the robbery of an estimated €300,000 during the robbery and kidnapping.
The five were being questioned last night in Crumlin, Terenure and Rathmines garda stations in Dublin following a series of raids on homes in the west of the city and in Kildare yesterday.
An undisclosed amount of the cash which was taken from the AIB in Clondalkin has also been recovered.
The gang forced their way into the couple's home in Domville Drive, Templeogue, Dublin early last Thursday and took the woman hostage. The woman was driven away in a Volkswagen Golf and her husband was ordered by the gang to take money from the bank the following morning and await further instructions.
The official was a manager in the Clondalkin branch of Allied Irish Banks.
During the course of the raid, gardai were alerted and a response team put in place.
But the raiders had made off with a haul believed to be about €300,000 and were let go because gardai were unsure if the woman was still being held by the gang. She was released at 12.45pm on Thursday at Ballybrew wood near Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.
The raid led to further controversy when Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern raised concerns about the amount of cash that is "swilling" around in the Irish system.
"If you go to most European countries, you'll find there's less cash swilling around than in Ireland," the minister told RTE.
"We're the only country in Europe that doesn't charge for money [to be taken] out of the hole in the wall, and that, I think, is something that will have to be looked at."
However, he quickly moved to distance himself from allegations of a "kidnap tax" made by Fine Gael's Alan Shatter and general public criticism that he was advocating that members of the public should have to pay higher premiums for using ATM machines.
Mr Ahern said he was merely talking about the necessity for Irish society to move more quickly towards a "cashless society" and that he was not advocating new bank charges.
"I wasn't suggesting that more taxes or more charges should be put on people, God almighty, in this day and age," said the Minister.
Meanwhile, the general secretary of the Irish Bank Officials Association said the latest kidnapping would send a wave of "profound concern" among bank workers and their families.
He said that while neither the bank official nor his wife was injured, "the psycho-logical damage which results from such traumatic situations should not be underestimated".
Gardai said two cars, a 2010 D-registered black Volkswagen Golf and a 2008 black Nissan Quashqai, were involved in the robbery. They appealed for anyone who might have seen the vehicles between Clondalkin and Enniskerry on Thursday night and Friday morning to contact them.