Three held captive as mini-bus hijacked at Dublin Airport
Two men arrested in Co Monaghan after driving as far as Armagh before crashing in Republic
The mini-bus was stolen from outside Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport at 1am. File image: Matt Kavanagh / The Irish Times
Two men who stole a hotel shuttle bus from Dublin Airport with three passengers on board drove as far as Armagh where they rammed a PSNI vehicle before eventually crashing in Co Monaghan.
Within minutes of the dramatic incident beginning just before 1am outside Terminal 2 at the airport, gardaí had been alerted and patrol cars and the Garda helicopter began a major operation.
The three passengers were let out of the Ford Transit mini-bus on the M1 near Julianstown, Co Meath as the hijackers fled the airport.
Shortly afterwards, as the bus was detected being driven towards the Border north of Dundalk, gardaí contacted the PSNI and an emergency response was put in place in south Armagh.
The mini-bus was spotted by PSNI officers in middle of Crossmaglen, where it rammed a police car before driving back in the direction of the Republic and eventually crashing in Co Monaghan.
The two suspects locked the passengers into the bus after they boarded it and drove away from the airport.
The passengers were allowed out of the mini-bus at a hotel close to junction seven of the M1 between Balbriggan and Drogheda.
The passengers, who were believed to be stranded due to a cancelled flight, were about to be taken to a hotel close to the airport when the mini-bus was stolen. The Irish Times understands they were left shaken by the experience but not physically injured.
It is understood the driver of the bus had gone to look for other passengers he was collecting from the airport to bring to the nearby hotel when the suspects boarded the vehicle.
A Garda statement said that after driving away from the airport “the mini-bus continued north on the M1 until it was located near Drogheda and followed by Garda units”.
It was tracked by gardaí in patrol cars until the mini-bus was driven over the Border and into the North, where gardaí cannot give chase.
“The PSNI were alerted and the mini-bus was located again a short time later having returned across the Border in Co Monaghan and was followed by gardaí before it was abandoned having crashed,” the Garda statement added.
“The two occupants of the mini-bus fled on foot before taking possession of a parked car. This car was intercepted by Garda Regional Support Unit members with assistance from Garda Air Support near Castleblayney a short time later.
“The occupants of the car, two men in their 30s, were arrested and are currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act at Carrickmacross Garda station.”
The PSNI confirmed its officers were alerted to the incident when contacted by gardaí who were already in pursuit of the stolen hotel mini-bus.
“Officers observed the vehicle in Crossmaglen Square, and upon police entering the car park the transit van collided with the police vehicle causing damage to the front of the car,” the PSNI said in a statement.
“The transit van then made off from the area and re-crossed the Border. The PSNI officers were not injured during the incident.”