A bar worker had a gun put to his head by two masked raiders in Dublin's city centre on one of the busiest nights of the year.
The 40-year-old man was threatened that he would be shot dead if he did not comply with orders from the thugs who targeted Scruffy Murphy's pub in Dublin 2.
The two-man gang escaped with what is being described as a "substantial amount of cash and cheques" after the armed robbery at the well-known pub just after 2am on Saturday.
Gardai from Pearse Street Station are investigating the incident which they believe may have been carried out by the same criminals who were involved in an unsuccessful armed robbery at a shop at Tara Street Dart Station on Friday.
The raid at Scruffy Murphy's unfolded when the highly-regarded employee was pulling down shutters at the pub at 2am when he was approached by two men.
Both wore ski masks and spoke with Dublin accents and one of them was armed with a handgun and he stuck it in the worker's face.
The terrified worker was forced back into the darkened pub and when the alarm went off was warned to turn it off or he would be shot.
He was then forced to open the safe and hand over a substantial four-figure cash sum to the dark clothed raiders who tied his hands together with cable ties who fled the scene on foot and into a waiting car.
In the earlier raid at Tara Street Dart Station at 9.30am on Friday, of which the same two criminals are suspected, a stolen motorbike which had been used as a getaway bike was quickly recovered by investigating gardai.
There have been no arrests in either case and other publicans in Dublin city centre have been warned about these type of robberies by the Licensed Vintners Association as criminals become increasingly "cash hungry" in the weeks leading up to Christmas, according to gardai.