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03/08/2021

Armed raider who was recognised by customer avoids jail term for trying to hold up his local pub

Armed raider who was recognised by customer avoids jail term for trying to hold up his local pub

An armed raider who was recognised and tackled by customers as he tried to hold up his local pub has received a fully suspended sentence.

Derek Foran (36) had armed himself with an imitation gun which looked like an Uzi semi-automatic and shouted at customers “This is the IRA, get down or I'll fucking shoot”.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that he was wearing a balaclava, but this slipped and some drinkers in the Speaker Connolly pub in Firhouse recognised him as a regular customer.

Foran of Allenton Avenue, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery of Jason Doyle, the manager of the pub, on January 1, 2018. He has previous convictions for drug dealing and public order offences.

The court heard that Foran told customers to get down on the floor and they did this. He pointed the gun at Mr Doyle while he was on the lying on the ground and grabbed him and pushed him into the back of the pub.

He told Mr Doyle “get me the money, get me fucking everything”.

An off-duty detective who happened to be drinking in the pub at the time heard a commotion in the kitchen area. When he went to investigate he saw three customers wrestling Foran and trying to get the gun off him.

The detective took control and requested garda armed assistance as he didn't know if Foran had anyone else assisting him. The court heard it later emerged Foran had carried out the raid on his own and was in “the depths of addiction” at the time.

Judge Elma Sheahan had previously placed Foran on a 12 month probation bond after first hearing evidence at a sentencing hearing in January 2019.

Passing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Sheahan, reading from a probation report, said that Foran’s offending was “very serious” in nature.

She said, however, that the court was satisfied that Foran had displayed “impressive” efforts to remain drug-free and engage in “pro-social” activities within the community since offending.

The judge said it would be appropriate for the defendant to continue his current course of rehabilitation within society. 

Judge Shehan sentenced Foran to four years imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence on strict conditions.

At a previous sentencing hearing, Garda James Ward agreed with Kieran Kelly BL, defending, that it was an unplanned flight of fancy. Foran had bought the replica firearm in a shop a few years earlier and had taken tablets before carrying out the hold up.

“It was an act of desperation,” the garda said. He agreed that Foran had drug debts and there were people coming to his family home looking for the money.

He said Foran has no previous conviction for violent offending and has not come to garda attention since the raid.

Counsel said his client is doing his best to deal with his addiction issues. He said on the day Foran went out “on a wing and a prayer” and was “outmuscled” by customers who disarmed him and “effected summary punishment on him”.

The court heard Foran was well known in the pub and had been previously barred. He told gardai that he choose to carry out the raid on this pub because he was barred from the other local pub.

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