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Fears growing dissident republicans using stolen ATM cash to build war chest ahead of Brexit

Irish Mirror logoIrish Mirror 08/04/2019 Pat Flanagan

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Fears are growing dissident republicans are using stolen cash from ATM raids to build up a war chest in preparation for Brexit.

It is believed the gang responsible for some of the 12 robberies here and in the North since October has netted around €700,000.

A senior Provisional IRA source has told the Irish Mirror the dissidents are involved and will use the cash to buy arms and explosives.

They plan to be ready to take advantage of the chaos caused by Brexit to mount attacks on any border posts erected on the frontier.

The latest attack took place in the early hours of Sunday when an ATM was taken from a filling station on the Feeny Road in Dungiven, Co Derry.

As in other raids, a digger was stolen from a nearby building site and used to rip the machine from the wall.

The source, a former PIRA commander, said: “They [dissident republicans] are piling up the cash for a border campaign and want to take advantage of Brexit.

Shocking footage shows thieves use a digger to rip a cash machine from a wall in Dungiven, Co Derry © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Shocking footage shows thieves use a digger to rip a cash machine from a wall in Dungiven, Co Derry “They are highly organised. They want to have a war chest ready and are a good way there already. 

“They are operating with military precision and you’ll notice that, after nearly a dozen raids, there have been no arrests.

“No one is saying it but it is so-called dissidents who are organising these raids and the plan is to go back to war.”

Last Wednesday, another machine was pulled from the AIB bank on Main Street in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, in the early hours.

Shocking footage shows a digger ripping a cash machine from a wall in Dungiven, Co Derry © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Shocking footage shows a digger ripping a cash machine from a wall in Dungiven, Co Derry The gang was so well-organised they had blocked off an approach road with a tractor and trailer to prevent gardai, who were on the scene within minutes, from stopping them and making arrests.

The digger was stolen locally and after smashing the ATM from the wall, it loaded it on to a trailer which was towed away in the direction of Co Armagh by a dark-coloured jeep.

It is understood the gang made off with around €70,000.

This was the second such raid on this side of the border in the past two months. Eight similar ATM robberies have taken place in the North this year. Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has condemned the attacks saying they are “not victimless crimes”.

a truck is parked on the side of a road: The scene outside Dungiven, Co Derry (Image: Ian Buchanan) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The scene outside Dungiven, Co Derry (Image: Ian Buchanan) He added: “It is clear they have a significant impact on both businesses and communities wherever they occur and so it is imperative that they are stopped. Both An Garda Siochana and the PSNI are conducting investigations into these robberies and I am confident they will bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The European chief of the ATM Industry Association yesterday called on the public to alert authorities if they see diggers or other vehicles moving around at unusual times.

Speaking on RTE’s News At One, Ron Delnevo said cash machines are a community asset, particularly in towns and villages that do not have a bank branch.

a truck is parked in front of a building: The ATM was stolen in Monaghan © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The ATM was stolen in Monaghan He suggested residents could form neighbourhood watch schemes to monitor them and make sure they are not easy prey for thieves.

Mr Delnevo added: “Sophisticated ATMs can completely replace bank branches but if we let the criminals get away with it, there is a danger the communities will lose their ATM.

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“That will mean businesses will cease to prosper because there won’t be cash there and local people will have to go elsewhere for their cash and elsewhere to shop.

“We will see the destruction of local communities.”

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