Bail denied after post office raid and high speed chase

John Harris (45) from Clara is led into Athlone District Court yesterday (Thursday) by Detective Sergeant Eamon Curley, where he faced firearm and theft charges in relation to an armed robbery of the sub-post office in Irishtown on Wednesday (September 16) which ended after an 80km car chase up the motorway.

John Harris (45) from Clara is led into Athlone District Court yesterday (Thursday) by Detective Sergeant Eamon Curley, where he faced firearm and theft charges in relation to an armed robbery of the sub-post office in Irishtown on Wednesday (September 16) which ended after an 80km car chase up the motorway.

A man arrested after a high speed chase up the M6 motorway on Wednesday (September 16 ) after an alleged armed robbery of a sub-post office in Irishtown, Athlone was remanded in custody yesterday (September 17 ) after Gardai opposed bail.

John Harris (45 ), with an address at Beechmount Avenue, Kilcoursey, Clara, Co Offaly was appearing in front of Judge Elizabeth McGrath, and was remanded in custody to re-appear at Athlone District Court next Tuesday (September 23 ).

He is facing two charges - S27B of the Firearms Act and S14 of the Theft and Fraud Act - to which he made no reply, according to Detective Sergeant Eamonn Curley, who gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

Defending solicitor, Mr Padraic Quinn, told the court he was seeking bail for his client but this was denied on account of Garda opposition and Judge McGrath’s insistence on an independent surety.

Mr Quinn also applied for legal aid for his unemployed client and this was granted.

Harris had been held in Athlone Garda Station under Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act after a high-speed car chase along the M6 motorway, following a raid on a security van at an Athlone post office on Wednesday.

According to garda sources, an attempt by an armed man to make off with a “significant amount” of cash ended when the van in which he was travelling was apprehended by gardai over 80 kilometres from the scene of the robbery.

The armed raid occurred as a cash delivery was being made to the post office on the ground floor of the Texas Centre, shortly after noon on Wednesday. A male security guard delivering cash to the post office was approached by a man carrying a handgun. The armed man took a case containing the cash and fled the scene in a grey Transit van.

Gardai subsequently came across the van travelling east on the M6 motorway at Moate. When the vehicle failed to stop, a high speed chase ensued as the van was pursued by gardai along the M6 in the direction of Dublin.

Somewhere between the Kinnegad and Enfield exits off the motorway, the van rammed into one of the Garda patrol cars and came to a halt.

The sole occupant of the van, a male in his 40s, was arrested at the scene, and all monies were recovered.

 

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