A farmer, named as Mr Pat Quirke, aged 49, with an address at Breanshamore, Tipperary, has appeared in court at the Excel Centre in Tipperary town, charged with the murder of lorry driver and part-time Disc Jockey Mr Bobby Ryan, aged 52, in or about June 3rd 2011, at an unknown location.
The murdered, separated father of two resided in Boherlahan, near Cashel in South Tipperary and had been reported missing by his family after he failed to appear at his place of work at Killough Quarry, Tipperary. His abandoned Citroen van had been later identified in a woodland area of Bansha; located by his daughter Michelle. Mr Ryan’s body was found in a concealed slurry tank, 22 months later, on April 30th 2013, following his disappearance.
The accused Mr Quirke was arrested yesterday (Tuesday March 21st, 2017) at 5.10pm in Grangemore, Tipperary, before being brought to Tipperary garda station, where he was later charged at 6.30pm.
This morning the accused was presented to a sitting of Tipperary district court accused of Mr Bobby Ryan’s murder. Detective Inspector Patrick O’Callaghan informed the court that when replying to the murder charge, Mr Quirke acknowledged he understood the contents of the charge, but stated he didn’t agree with the charge.
Acting in defence of the accused, Solicitor M/s Aoife Corridan stated she would be making an application for bail later to the High Court. Judge M/s Marie Keane remanded Mr Quirke be held in custody to appear at Thurles district court on Tuesday next, March 28th, 2017.
Members of the late Mr Bobby Ryan’s family were in attendance at court for the hearing.
Three Laois brothers, in custody since their arrest last July, appeared before Portlaoise Circuit Criminal Court earlier this month. The three men were arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into rural thefts in the counties Tipperary, Laois, Offaly, Carlow and Kilkenny.
In the course of this operation two Garda patrol cars were rammed by a 4×4 Jeep and four Gardaí ended up in hospital.
Mr Thomas McInerney, aged 40, of Twomey Park, Mountmellick; Mr William McInerney, aged 35, of Newline Close, Mountrath and Mr Gerard McInerney aged 38 of Woodbrook, Mountrath, all faced nine separate counts each, (27 counts in all) of possession of stolen property including a Jeep, a trailer, a bolt cutter, a hacksaw, a nail bar, wire cutters, snips and a claw hammer.
The three accused pleaded guilty to all charges and were further remanded in custody, to be sentenced at a hearing on June 13th 2017 next, when victim impact statements will be heard.
State prosecutor, Mr Will Fennelly requested that the case be adjourned, as in this matter there remained a number of other injured parties who were all anxious to attend court. The presiding Judge Mr Keenan Johnson further ordered Probation reports and Governor’s reports on each of the accused.
The arrests, which concerned five Garda units all being involved, has been hailed by Portlaoise Garda Chief Superintendent Mr John Scanlon, as being a significant breakthrough in the fight against rural crime in north Tipperary.
The Insurance firm ‘Axa’ has stated that it is currently investigating 36 allegedly staged accidents in Co Galway and another 19 suspected such accidents in Co. Donegal.
The company, one of the largest insurers in the country, claim that the potential costs of such claims arising out of the various accidents, are likely to be in excess of €3.2m.
This information comes to light at a time when the motor insurance industry has come under scrutiny; with government departments, at the end of last year, publishing various reports on issues surrounding soaring premium costs.
Axa, who back in 2002, initially set up its own Special Investigation Unit, are understood to have opened up more than 600 investigations in relation to suspect household claims; personal injury claims; accidental and third party damage claims and allegations of staged car crashes.
The company have identified organised rings of persons involved in staged traffic accidents in certain areas of the country, and in particular the Galway region. Links have been found where personal injury claims are being pursued for a total sum in excess of €2m.
In Co Donegal, 19 such ongoing investigations, also suspected of being staged accidents, are being pursued for in excess of €1.2m.
It is estimated that the cost of motor insurance fraud nationally represents a figure of some €200mn, placing approximately €50 on the average sold motor premium.
A drugs haul, worth in the region of €850,000, discovered in a house in Resika, Kilcommon, Thurles, Co. Tipperary yesterday, is now believed to have links to the Limerick City, jailed, Collopy criminal gang.
One male suspect, aged 45, living in St Mary’s Park, Limerick city, was arrested as part of this planned Garda operation, and is understood to have close links with Brian and Kieran Collopy.
The suspect is still being questioned today, at Thurles Garda Station, under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking Act) 1996, latter Act which allows Gardaí to question suspects for up to seven days without charge.
The Limerick City Collopy criminal gang first got involved in the drug trade sometime in the late 1990’s. The family, also from St Mary’s Park, became involved with the Keane gang headed up by brothers Christy and Kieran, who were already operating a lucrative drug enterprise.
The Collopy gang are understood to have located a consignment of drugs then owned by the Keanes, which the Collopy gang then took possession of and independently sold. Despite their anger the Keane gang came to the realisation that the Collopy gang had an exceptional talent of quickly moving illicit drug products onto the streets. Instead of chastising the Collopy’s for their actions; instead they enlisted the Collopy’s to assist directly using their realised talents.
In January 2003, Kieran Keane was kidnapped, tortured and shot dead. Christy Keane, would have better luck, going on to serve part of a ten year jail sentence for possession of cannabis valued at €250,000, while surviving a second attempt on his life in 2015.
At the height of the Limerick feud, the Keane’s had fought a turf war with the McCarthy’s from Moyross and their cousins, the Dundon’s, latter who operated in Ballinacurra Weston. The Collopy family appear to have stepped back from this feud, concentrating solely on selling drugs to old established wholesalers. With Christy now in jail and Kieran deceased, the Collopy gang took advantage of this lucrative vacuum naturally created in St Mary’s Park.
After years of evading all prosecution Brian and Kieran Collopy were each jailed for eight years last July; both pleading guilty to possessing nearly €40,000 worth of heroin, for sale or supply, on December 15th, 2015.
On an earlier date both men, had been observed associating with Dublin drug lord George “Penguin” Mitchell, at a Supermacs outlet in Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Both had been under strict Garda surveillance.
Gardaí now believe, that despite being resident in jail; the Collopy’s continue to run their lucrative illicit drugs business, directly from behind bars.
The Garda Press Office have confirmed that a major drug seizure has taken place, early this morning, (8th March 2017), near Thurles, Co. Tippearay.
It is confirmed that drugs including Heroin and Cocaine, with a possible street value of €850,000, has been recovered during the raid.
As part of ‘Operation Thor’, the multi-strand national anti-crime strategy, Gardaí from Thurles District, together with officers from other areas of Co. Tipperary, searched a house at Reiska, Kilcommon, (some 27.3 km or 17 miles via the R503 from Thurles), early this morning.
During the course of this search, Gardaí uncovered a large quantity of controlled substances, which included Heroin and Cocaine, with an approximate street value of €850,000 (subject to analysis).
One male is understood to have been arrested and is being detained in a Tipperary Garda station, under the provisions of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996 as amended.