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Seven charged as court told of girls' screams during 999 call for help

THE screams of three young girls were reportedly heard on a 999 call from a family home "terrorised" by an armed gang.

Brave Emma Corcoran made the emergency call as the raiders smashed the sitting room window of her home.

Her husband Mark (inset left) went to investigate as their three daughters – aged 8, 6 and 3 – slept in the next room.

The claims were made as seven men with addresses in north Dublin appeared in court in connection with the aggravated burglary last Thursday.

Each has been charged with one count of aggravated burglary at a house at Burnchurch, Killenaule, Co Tipperary, last November 24. The maximum sentence if convicted is life imprisonment.

In the witness box to oppose bail, Det Sgt James White said that the burglars were armed with firearms and a machete.

He said Mark Corcoran was assaulted during the incident and suffered blood loss.

Threats were made to the family, including to the children who were woken by the sound of the attack on their home, the witness said.

"It will be alleged that those involved entered the property and terrorised the family in the household," the sergeant said.

"It's alleged that this recording clearly outlined the threats that were made in relation to what was demanded and also the distress of the children can be heard in the background."

Those charged are John Joyce (19) of Lentisk Lawn, The Donaghies, Donaghmede, Dublin; Patrick Joyce (21) of Beaumont Hall, Beaumont Woods, Dublin 9; Michael McDonagh (22) of Tara Lawns, Belcamp Lane, Coolock, Dublin 17; Thomas Flynn (19) of Moatview Avenue, Coolock, Dublin 17; Donal O'Hara (21) of Glin Park, Coolock, Dublin 17; Dean Byrne (21) of Cabra Park, Dublin 7; and Patrick Gately (26) of Primrose Grove, Darndale, Dublin 17.

The men arrived at Cashel courthouse at 10.48am yesterday in a number of marked and unmarked garda cars, with armed regional support teams accompanying the convoy.

The court heard that Patrick Gately said "no comment" when charged by gardai.

Dean Byrne said "I'll say it in court" when charged in a garda station and Donal O'Hara said "I wasn't in that f**king house" when charged. The others made no reply.

All seven are unemployed, and free legal aid was granted by Judge Finn in all cases.



An application was made on Michael McDonagh's behalf to have him remanded to Cloverhill Prison rather than Limerick Prison.

Judge Terence Finn said he would not be making such a recommendation, but it was open to Michael McDonagh to apply to the prison services for such a transfer.

Similar applications were made on behalf of Thomas Flynn and Patrick Joyce, but turned down. The only accused to apply for bail was Donal O'Hara, but this was opposed by the state.

Det Sgt James White said Mr O'Hara was one of a group who left Dublin last week and carried out an aggravated burglary in a remote rural location outside Killenaule.

He said their vehicle broke down on the way down, near the toll plaza in Co Laois, but they stole another in Co Kilkenny and made their way to Burnchurch, outside Killenaule, arriving at 3.15am.

They failed to kick in the front door of the house occupied by Emma and Mark Corcoran and their three daughters and instead smashed open the sitting-room window.

They were armed with firearms and a machete, he said, and threats were made to the family.

The gang fled the scene, having taken a sum of money, in two vehicles including the family's own car, the court heard, but were later arrested in Laois and Kildare.

Blood staining found by gardai matched the blood of Mark Corcoran, Sgt White said, while there was mobile phone tracking of calls between the vehicles prior to the arrests.

Chinese currency was taken from the Corcoran home, and some Chinese currency was found in the rear of the vehicle in which Donal O'Hara was travelling.

The sergeant told the court that a "substantial quantity of jewellery" and two firearms used in the incident still haven't been recovered and it was his belief that, if granted bail, Mr O'Hara would attempt to dispose of these items.

Judge Terence Finn refused the bail application. All seven suspects have been remanded in custody and will appear again in court on Thursday.