Operation Thor: Two 'gang members' appear in Limerick court over burglaries

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Martin Cawley and Andrew Cawley were brought before Limerick District Court on Friday evening

Martin Cawley and Andrew Cawley were brought before Limerick District Court

TWO men who gardai allege are members of a travelling crime gang which is responsible for a spate of burglaries across Limerick have been refused bail.

Martin Cawley, aged 62, of Drumcairn Parade, Tallaght and Andrew Cawley, aged 22, of  Daletree Place, Ballycullen were arrested in Dublin last Tuesday morning following several months of investigations under Operation Thor.

Both men are charged with burglary relating to incidents at O’Dwyer Villas, Thomondgate on October 6, 2017 and at Sycamore Avenue, Rathbane on October 17, 2017 while Martin Cawley is also charged with burglary relating to an incident  at Millview Terrace, Sir Harry’s Mall on September 30, last.

Detective Garda Conor McNamara told Limerick District Court that Andrew Cawley made no reply when charged while Detective Garda Pat Whelan said Martin Cawley replied “not guilty” when he was charged on Friday morning.

Gardai opposed bail in each case expressing ‘grave concerns’ alleging that both men are members of an organised criminal organisation which gardai believe is responsible for burglaries the “length and breath” of the country in recent months.

During lengthy hearings, Judge Marian O’Leary said it is the State case that Martin Cawley was the driver of three separate cars which gardai were believe were used by the culprits.

Detective Garda Whelan said CCTV footage has been obtained from the toll plaza near Portlaoise which shows the vehicles travelling in the direction of Limerick before each of the burglaries and in the direction of Dublin afterwards. 

It is the State case that Andrew Cawley was the person who bought the two cars and that he was identified as one of the culprits by a number of independent witnesses.

Judge O’Leary was told both men exercised their right to silence during interview while their solicitors – Tom Kiely for Martin Cawley and Emer McDermott for Andrew Cawley – emphasised their clients enjoy the presumption of innocence.

In each case, gardai expressed concerns the defendants would re-offend and would not stand trial if granted bail.

Both were refused bail and will appear before the court again this Tuesday via video link. Gardai believe two other men who are being sought in relation to more than 20 burglaries across Limerick have fled the jurisdiction