Gerard Kelly pleaded guilty to charges relating to an incident at St Ailbe's Credit Union, Caherconlish
A YOUNG man has been jailed for his role in an attempted armed robbery at a credit union in County Limerick last year,
During a sentencing hearing, Detective Garda Barry Moylan said two armed and masked men entered the premises at around 3.20pm while the defendant remained outside in a wine-coloured Ford Focus car.
Members of staff at the credit union were threatened by the raiders and firearms were pointed at them and money demanded.
However, the staff members did not cooperate with the culprits and no money was handed over.
While gardai are satisfied the men had imitation firearms, Judge Tom O’Donnell commented the staff would not have known that at the time.
Following the attempted robbery, the culprits left in the Ford Focus which was driven to a derelict farmhouse in Meanus where it was set on fire.
The defendant was apprehended while walking on the main Limerick to Bruff road a short time after the alarm was raised.
While one other man was arrested and questioned, Detective Moylan confirmed Mr Kelly is the only person to have been prosecuted.
Brian McInerney BL said his client had come under pressure to drive the getaway car as he owed a drug debt of around €10,000.
He said the father-of-one is remorseful and made admissions following his arrest. He added that he is making efforts to address his addiction problems and that he is currently drug free.
Imposing sentence this Friday, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the defendant’s previous convictions were “not helpful” but he noted they all related to less serious offences.
While accepting there was an element of duress, he commented he was “an active participant” in the attempted robbery.
The judge said what happened was “extremely frightening” for the staff who, he noted, have made a good recovery.
He imposed a five year prison sentence, suspending the final 18 months.
The sentence was back-dated to the date of the offence.