Several people were arrested in Douglas, Passage West and Farran earlier today though this RTE report fails to mention that. A substantial sum of money was also found. I have little doubt it is related to the Northern Bank robbery in Belfast. One of those arrested is believed to have direct connections with Sinn Fein. Three men were also arrested in Dublin yesterday,£94,000 in cash was seized. I hope to have more details soon. Slugger has more details with alot of comments..
From the grapevine here in Cork – and it should be made absolutely clear at this stage – nobody has been charged, and nobody has been found guilty of anything, people have only been arrested on suspicion, they are entitled to due process under the law. But these names will likely appear in tomorrow’s papers.
The money found in Farran in Cork, £2.6million, was apparently in a bin at the back of a house. The man arrested in connection with the investigation is Ted Cunningham, a financial services man for a company in Ballincollig. The woman arrested is his girlfriend.
The man arrested in Passage West is a former Sinn Fein counciller, Tom Hanlon(image), who is believed to have been found with £60,000 in Northern Bank notes. He is a painter by trade. He stood for election in Cork South Central in 2002.
To my knowledge, nobody has been charged as yet, they are being held under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
The Guardian has details on the grounds for arrest:
A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery, kidnap, handling stolen goods and firearms offences. A second man and a 27-year-old woman are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, conspiracy to commit kidnap and firearms offences. The second man is also being held on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and conspiracy to commit kidnap. Two woman, two men and two girls are being held on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
This looks like Hanlon (‘second man’), who would be in his late 30’s now, may have been arrested on suspicion of very serious offences. It is hard to tell who Cunningham may be in that report.
What will it mean for Sinn Fein that a man who stood for election for them may be charged with these offences, that obviously relate to the Northern Bank robbery?
It is believed a large volume of data and files have been seized and are being examined. It is also believed that money was in the process of being shipped to the Continent in order to be laundered.
The Scotsman reports more details
Richard has pointed out that the Times of London has named Hanlon.
The arrest in Cork comes after weeks of denials by Sinn Fein that the IRA was involved. Tom Hanlon, who in the past stood for the Irish Parliament as a Sinn Fein candidate and is a former councillor, was arrested with two other men and a woman. Three more men were arrested in Dublin.
Rumours abound of more arrests in other counties.
Update:(Feb 18, 8.50)
It seems like the rumours of more arrests has been proved right, the Irish Times reports:
Garda raids were continuing last night in Louth, Meath and Westmeath after euro and sterling notes worth a total of €3.6 million were seized in Dublin and Cork.
Update: (Feb 18, 9.00)
Unimaginable buzz at moment – sources close to government say the next 48 hours are going to be a whirlwind. So fasten your seatbelts, kids. We’re in for a bumpy weekend.