Northern Bank robbery – Redux. Again.

Another, possibly final, update to the convictions resulting from Operation Phoenix.  George Hegarty had been charged with IRA membership in May 2009 before pleading guilty to  money-laundering offences connected to the 2004 Northern Bank robbery.

Today Hegarty was sentenced to 6 years, suspended, for “possessing £66,000 sterling at his address on February 16, 2005, knowing or believing that the money represented the proceeds of a robbery at the Northern Bank, Belfast on December 20, 2004”.

From the iol report

Detective Sergeant John Cahill gave evidence to the three-judge, non-jury court that gardaí launched an investigation into several individuals in Cork in February 2005 following the Northern Bank robbery.

He said that gardaí who searched Hegarty’s home found the £66,000 sterling in his bedroom. After his arrest Hegarty admitted to gardaí during interviews that he knew the money was part of the Northern Bank robbery proceeds.

Det Sgt Cahill told Hegarty’s counsel Mr Tom Creed SC that he and his partner have an adult autistic child. He also agreed that Hegarty is the carer for his partner who is confined to a wheelchair and needs full-time care.

The Detective Sergeant said that Hegarty would not have benefited from his part in the money laundering and was involved because of his republican sympathies.

As I noted previously, earlier reports were more explicit

As yesterday’s Irish News noted

Mr Hegarty was originally arrested in February 2005 at the same time as Cork financier Ted Cunningham, Dublin businessman Phil Flynn and former Sinn Féin councillor Tom Hanlon.

Mr Hegarty, who said he was a republican and a member of Sinn Féin, was initially released without charge.

However, in May last year he appeared in court alongside Mr Hanlon accused of IRA membership on February 16 2005.

Interestingly, the party references I noted in May 2009 seem to have been edited from the original BBC report, but at least one report from 2005 remains accessible online describing Hegarty as a ”Sinn Féin activist”.  The iol report noting that Hegarty “is also known as a Sinn Féin member and republican” also remains.

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  • socaire

    And your point is ….? Again ..?

  • jim

    just proves dessie wards comments about the mafia thing true

  • One day SF may, if they are lucky and the winds in the right direction, grow into a real democratic party, that day aint here yet.

    When in doubt revert to type?

  • IRIA

    “One day SF may, if they are lucky and the winds in the right direction, grow into a real democratic party, that day aint here yet.”

    Those arrests were 5 years ago.

  • IRIA

    I know…

  • Jean Meslier

    “..One day SF may, if they are lucky and the winds in the right direction, grow into a real democratic party, ..”

    Pippakin, my friend
    Luck nor wind has nothing to do with it.

    Don’t be going down the route of SF voters being in some way 2nd class. Thats not cricket old boy/girl

  • Jean Meslier

    Ive noticed we agree, on some important things…

    I have never suggested SF voters are 2nd class citizens. Its not a great compliment to SF voters. I would never say that about anyone, nor would I believe it of anyone.

    As for ‘luck and wind having nothing to do with it’. Now that I believe.

  • Oracle

    Those PSNI guys are so brilliantly bright to have all these innocent republicans framed for the Northern bank.

    The way they went hundrds of miles into the Republic to old barns and hidden cottages and planted hundreds of thousands of pounds from the robbery in S/F members houses… up chimneys under floor boards and behind door panels of cars….
    Then hypnotised some of them to make confessions admitting their part in the robbery by the PSNI…… brilliant just bloody brilliant….

    Wonder how they were so stupid to leave money in the toilets of the PSNI club… damn I can’t work that one out!

  • Jean Meslier

    I almost forgot! Im afraid I must leave the cricket expertise to Pete Baker and, apparently, you. 🙂

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    The summer is always a bad time for repeats on TV.
    There is no new drama until the Autumn Season.
    I guess its the same on Slugger O’Toole……..but its called “reDux ing” which is a kinda classy way of saying “repeat”.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I have no great difficulty in believing the IRA carried out the Northern Bank job. Indeed Id be amazed if they hadnt carried it out.
    But even if the robbers had worn dark glasses, black berets, sang “Sean South of Garryowen” wrote a note saying “we did it” and left it at the scene addressed to the Chief Constable and driven away in a green white and orange van with “IRA ” on the side……….would it have cost them a single vote in the 2010 Election.
    I doubt it.
    And thats something a lot of people seem to resent.

  • Jean Meslier

    Thats a touch of the old LBW Pippakin.

    Oh yes -the crack of (is it?) cork on willow on the village green. I’m almost in Finchley (hope finchley has a village green)
    And of course – strawberries & cream. -Sh*t wrong sport and wrong part of town.

    ps
    Are you daring to equate cricket as “not a sport”?

  • FJH

    Resent? No. Completely understand? Yes.

    For a long time the only way to show solidarity was to vote SF, those days are, if not gone, going, and if SF is to grow it must improve. Its quite possible some of us want it to grow.

  • Pete Baker

    Fitzy

    You claim to be an historian.

    So you know the importance of recording events accurately.

  • Jean Meslier

    Ive never been to Finchley, there may be a village green, how would I know or, thinking of cricket, even care. Didnt Thatcher represent somewhere in Finchley? If she did I feel sure they had a village green, or something…

    I have on the other hand been to Wimbledon, on a freebie, and even then I couldnt afford the strawberries. You must tell me what you thought of it.

    I remember Borg was a star back then…

  • Jean Meslier

    Ceart go leor fitzjameshorse, a chara.
    You’ve nailed it .

    It’s time for Pete et al to understand – it ain’t a bad book you’re reading boys, but you’re stuck on the same page for far to long. So come on, wet your finger and turn the page.

  • redhugh78

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • Jean Meslier

    Pippakin

    Nah i’ve never been there and haven’t watched much tennis at all in recent years, but I did see a bit of the recent tournament won by the Italian girl and it was refreshing to see a different face.

    I do remember Borg, Connors, Mad John McEnroe etc in what was for me the golden era of mens tennis.
    However my personal fav was Illie Nastase who was madder than the whole lot put together, but on his day was a formidable foe.

  • redhugh78

    The northern bank robbery,
    a classic case of ‘ the bigger the lie the more that will believe it’ if ever there was one.

  • Jean Meslier

    Funny enough neither have I, it must be age or, I think the rackets have changed, and I am older… and they are so very young. Ah but I ‘loved’ Nastase. Do you know I have been trying to remember who I saw that day at Wimbledon. It was hot, so sunny! and I cannot remember the names. How sad is that!

    Blessings Jean Meslier, we both live to ‘fight’ another day, which is as it should be.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Bakery,
    I dont think Ive made such a “claim”.
    Ive merely stated that my discipline is History.
    I didnt actually read your redux but Im sure its accurate in every respect…
    You may even have the same conclusion as the one I posted about an hour ago.
    The point is that not enough people seem to care..
    If you had posted all this on billboards and put them in strategic places all over Norn Iron a months ago, it would not have had the slightest effect.
    The ability to record things accurately is but one aspect of “History”.
    The ability to draw convincing conclusions from these facts is also valued.

  • Cormac Mac Art

    that members of Sinn Fein have links to organised crime and the IRA.

  • Cormac Mac Art

    I don’t understand what you mean.

  • Alias

    He said that gardaí who searched Hegarty’s home found the £66,000 sterling in his bedroom. After his arrest Hegarty admitted to gardaí during interviews that he knew the money was part of the Northern Bank robbery proceeds.

    The Detective Sergeant said that Hegarty would not have benefited from his part in the money laundering and was involved because of his republican sympathies.

    Bizarre logic. He knew the money was stolen by the Shinners, and he also knew that the Shinners ended their sectarian murder campaign 11 years prior to the robbery, so how could he have believed that robbery was in any way related to ‘republican’ activities and wasn’t simply the godfathers of the Shinners engaged in organised crime for personal profit?

  • jim

    theres bigger trials to come very shortly.these will cost resenment n plenty of votes

  • Jean Meslier

    Belated humanist, secular “blessings” to you too Pippakin

  • Framer

    As no Republican has been convicted of stealing the money it is improper, if not libellous, to suggest they had anything to do with the Northern Bank robbery.

    Oh and Derrick Bird wasn’t convicted either.

  • Cynic

    “As no Republican has been convicted of stealing the money it is improper, if not libellous, to suggest they had anything to do with the Northern Bank robbery.”

    Why yes they have. The Court heard evidence that Cunningham was working for PIRA and then convicted him,. His defence, as i recall, was that the money (in Northern Bank notes) came from Bulgarian Businessmen (whose names escaped him) who arrived at his house with a wheelie bin full of cash (in Northern Bank notes) to invest and that he saw nothing odd in this.

    Now which version do I believe? Well, the court didn’t seem to have a problem deciding.

    PS Gerry ….. where’s the rest of the money?

    PPS as for it being libellous wasn’t the last Republican who sued for this the boul Slab Murphy who sued the Sunday Times and didn’t an Irish Jury find him to be ‘a man of worthless character’

  • old school

    6 years suspended??
    Another political judgement in a political court by Judges hand-picked by the State.
    Had this man been in anyway off-message regarding the GFA, he’d be eating porridge now.

  • TheHorse

    Which adds weight to the theory that the Northern Bank robbery, just like the Castlereagh break in – Were stage managed with British government assistance. The Northern Bank robbery was the IRA’s compensation for decommissioning just like the UDA, UVF, East Antrim UDA, IRSP, OIRA. The castlereagh break in was those British agents in the IRA removing their own files from possible future exposure.

  • TheHorse

    Or it could have been a brazen act masterminded by those who knew they were safe, for the time being, from any real investigation or capture…

  • Jean Meslier

    ‘Blessings’ sounds such religious word.

    Actually I use it because I dont like ‘Goodbye’ which is I think a corruption of ‘God be with you’. But few even know that now…

  • King Kai

    Catch a grip. You must be the only person in the world who doesn’t think the Provo’s robbed the Northern bank?. Its not exactly the first bank they have done.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Spot on FJH — a long history of sectarian murder, extortion, robbery, terrorising own communities, bare faced lying, selling out old comrades and child abuse cover-up didn’t cost a single vote within the UK, though folks in the 26 might behave differently. What exactly would cost SF votes in NI?

  • keano

    and it won’t be the last!

  • Cynic

    Yeah ….. and it was all controlled from a giant flying saucer in orbit rather than being planned in the front room of a house in West Belfast

  • Framer

    I did write ‘steal’ as opposed to launder.

    And it was his own wheelie bin which he used as a bank, believing perspicaciously that the Irish ones might fail. Perhaps Phil Flynn (chairman of Bank of Scotland Ireland) was advising him.

  • vanhelsing

    It terrrifies me to think that people can actually believe these kind of theories. Tell me, do you know if Elvis is still alive?

    http://www.conspiraciestheoriesareus.com

  • Henry94

    I think a suspended sentence was appropriate given all the circumstances. Perhaps we will never know the full story about who carried out the robbery but what seems clear is that media speculation that the IRA were involved may have led, inadvertently, to republicans in Cork feeling they had to help dispose of the loot when approached.

    We can only imagine how these things work but I doubt you can ring HQ to check out if the people asking you to do something are kosher.

    I can understand why many people will believe that linking individual republicans to the cash implies that others may have been involved in the actual robbery. Of course it ain’t necessarily so. But we’ll wait and see where the trail leads.

  • King Kai

    After years of killing innocent people for their so called cause they have ended up nothing more than thieves. They have stolen lives, votes and now money but just like fellow terrorists around the world they can justify anything to the sheep that support them.

  • Dixie

    The SDLP were the Brit’s pet paddys when they had all these votes now it’s merely a change of mouth pieces for British rule.

    People would vote for McGinty’s goat to get one up on the Unionists.

  • ciscowen

    I haven’t read all the comments but the talk on the street is that the loyalists didn’t have the brains nor the organisational skills to pull off such a raid.

    In the end it’s like a perverse Irish joke, they pulled off a daring bank robbery but they only stole banknotes exchangeable in N.I.

    I think Jeremy Hardy said that Mahmoud Abbas invited Gerry and Marty over to Palestine. He wanted to see if they could do such a good job on the West Bank as they did on the Northern!