Concurrent sentence for robber serving 18 years


AN ARMED robber, already serving 18 years, has been jailed for a concurrent 12 year term for his part in a raid on a Dunnes Stores branch in 1995.

Judge Kieran O'Connor warned John Flanagan if he ever appeared before him again on a similar charge, he would receive a life sentence. He said Flanagan had an "appalling record", at now seven out of his 21 convictions were for armed robbery.

The raid on the Portmarnock branch of Dunnes Stores had been well planned, but gardai caught the gang within minutes, Judge O'Connor added at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Flanagan (37), married and a father of four children, of Fortlawn Avenue, Clonsilla, pleaded guilty to his part in the armed theft of £13,000 on October 26th, 1995.

Mr Erwan Mill Arden SC, defending, said Flanagan had a long but "hopeless" record, as he got caught after each raid. For some reason this ease had not been dealt with on the earlier occasion and he was asking the court not to extend his sentence beyond the 18 years which was under appeal.

Det Garda Frank Gunn told Mr Tom O'Connell, prosecuting, that Flanagan threatened staff with a starting pistol and forced them to hand over the cash. He then gave the money and the gun to Joseph Morrison, who was driving a getaway car.

But with in minutes of the raid, gardai stopped Morrison's ear, and a short time later they stopped a van containing Flanagan and another man.

Flanagan told gardai he had spotted the "possibilities" weeks earlier and mounted his own one man surveillance operation on the store, Garda Gunn said.

Flanagan received a total of 18 years last June for a number of offences. He had pleaded guilty to an armed raid at the FAI headquarters in Merrion Square on October 12th, 1994.

He also admitted the theft of £3,360 from the post office at Villa Park Gardens in Cabra on August 2nd, 1995, and a raid on the West County Hotel in September 1995.

Jason Cullen (27), of Finglas had his sentence hearing adjourned yesterday to next March 19th, when he also admitted his role in the Portmarnock robbery.

Last February Morrison (31), of Ballygall Parade, was jailed for 19 years for his involvement in this and other raids, including the robbery with Flanagan at the FAI headquarters.