The digger seized at the botch ATM raid in Virginia in August 2019

Brothers jailed for almost 20 years for parts in ATM thefts

€790K from machines in five locations before botched raid led to arrests

Three Monaghan brothers who were part of a destructive ATM cross-Border gang that stole an "eye-watering" amount of money have received combined jail sentences of 19-and-a-half years at the Special Criminal Court this morning (Friday).

The three had all pleaded guilty to being part of a gang that used stolen diggers, trailers and jeeps to rip ATMs out of the walls of premises in Cavan, Meath and Monaghan between 2018 and 2019.

The gang was eventually foiled in August 2019 when specialist gardaí pounced on the attempted theft of an ATM in Virginia, Co Cavan, by ramming a stolen jeep the gang were using.

Today Stephen, Gerard and Ciaran Duffy were present in the three-judge court for their combined sentence of 19 years and six months, delivered by Mr Justice Tony Hunt.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said "eye-watering" amounts of money were involved in gang's thefts and expressed "surprise" that the three men would be involved to such an extent in criminality given their work history and economic standing.

Fiona Murphy SC, prosecuting, had previously told the court that gardaí estimated that the total amount stolen over the five successful ATM thefts was €790K.

The three are among five men charged before the non-jury court in relation to a Garda investigation into the theft of an ATM in Ballybay, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, in April 2019 and the attempted theft of an ATM in Virginia, Co Cavan, in August 2019.

In December, Gerard Duffy (31) of Greagh, Loughnamore, Co Monaghan, pleaded guilty to the attempted theft of an ATM at the Riverfront Bar & Restaurant, Main Street, Virginia, on August 14, 2019.

He had been charged with the serious offence of 'the attempted theft of the ATM and its contents for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organisation, contrary to Section 73 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006'.

Today Gerard Duffy received a sentence of eight years and nine months' imprisonment with the last year suspended.

Brother Ciaran Duffy (29) of the same address, pleaded guilty to three offences connected to the same investigation.

C. Duffy admitted participating in criminal activities while in a Toyota Avensis at Tullypole, Moynalty, Co Meath on August 20, 2019 by participating in the movement of cash on behalf of a criminal organisation.

He also pleaded guilty to attempting to commit an offence under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud) Act by attempting to steal the ATM and its contents at the Riverfront Bar & Restaurant.

C. Duffy further admitted participating in or contributing to the possession of cash at Tullypole, Moynalty, on August 14, 2019, intending to facilitate the commission of an offence by a criminal organisation. C. Duffy also received a sentence of eight years and nine months with the final year suspended.

Eldest brother Stephen Duffy (35) of Tullynahinera, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, who was the first to plead guilty, admitted to possessing cash at The Yard, Tullypole, Moynalty, Co Meath, on August 20, 2019, in association with a criminal organisation. Stephen Duffy's involvement in the criminal organisation was limited to handling the money after the attempted ATM robbery and he received a sentence of four years and nine months' imprisonment with the final nine months suspended.

In November, Niall Finnegan (39) was jailed for four-and-a-half years with the final 18 months suspended for possessing cash, which was the proceeds of the ATM thefts carried out by the gang.

Finnegan of Cherry Grove, Cullyhanna, Co Armagh, pleaded guilty in July at the court to possessing or handling €103,000 at Tullypole in August 2019.

A fifth male is to be sentenced by the Special Criminal Court on Monday.