Counterfeiting operation posed potential threat to euro

The Sunday Times has details of the scale of the counterfeiting operation that was uncovered in County Laois last month.  From the Sunday Times report

Detectives assigned to the fraud investigation, led by Martin Callinan, the deputy garda commissioner and intelligence specialist, believe the gang planned to sell the forged currency at 10% of face value to the Russians, who in turn planned to launder the fakes through contacts in eastern Europe.

“We also know that a number of Irish gangs had invested in the operation on the promise they would get a few million in high quality fake currency. We believe some of the counterfeit money would have been distributed in Ireland, but the bulk of it was going east,” said a senior detective.

Four men were arrested at the scene by the garda’s emergency response unit. The leader of the gang is a former member of the Provisional IRA. When gardai entered the bunker they found a loaded armalite.

The four were detained at Portlaoise and Tullamore garda stations under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, but released without charge. They are expected to be charged in coming months.

One security expert said the presence of such a sophisticated operation was a sinister development. “If one gang managed to source the materials to produce that much counterfeit money, it is highly likely that another gang or someone else will try the same thing,” he said.

The counterfeiting operation is the first of its kind to be discovered in Ireland, although similar but smaller counterfeiting operations have been uncovered in eastern Europe. Of equal concern to garda headquarters and Europol is the fact that Irish criminals with links to paramilitary organisations are networking with organised crime gangs from Russia, who are heavily involved in drug and people trafficking.

Adds  According to the Sunday Independent’s Jim Cusack

However, it has been learned that those involved in the massive counterfeiting operation include a senior IRA man convicted of murdering a British soldier in the North and who was a close associate of Gerry Adams, and three known and current members of Sinn Fein.

I guess we’ll find out more when they’re charged…

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  • Drumlin Rock

    “The leader of the gang is a former member of the Provisional IRA”

    imagine that…

  • Mrazik

    The printing press and the armalite.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The indo goes one better

    “However, it has been learned that those involved in the massive counterfeiting operation include a senior IRA man convicted of murdering a British soldier in the North and who was a close associate of Gerry Adams, and three known and current members of Sinn Fein.”

  • Pete Baker

    Ta Sammy Mac,

    I’ve added that snippet to the original post.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Yet more alleged Criminality linked to members/former members of the IRA. 30 Years of Terror, including several attrocities, bank robberies, smuggling and counterfeiting.
    The peculiar thing is that 172,000 people voted for a political party which has er connexions to a paramilitary organisation with responsibility for all of the above and more.
    Lets see…that would be I guess about 20 times the number that vote for a political party with connexion to terrorism and crime.
    It does not strike me as conceivable that 172,000 people dont know about this connexion.
    Much more likely is that they DO know and simply dont care enough.
    If for the sake of convenience or good taste (suit yourselves) we rule out that “serving” in the IRA is no real difference to serving in the UDR/RUC Reserve.this presents the intriguing thought that 172,000 indirectly approve of the terror and crime.
    Probably good taste suggests this would be a mere sectarian commentary on Catholics//Irish/Republicans…..and unworthy. But I ask it seriously if only because it seems an unspoken undercurrent that runs thru so many threads.
    Certainly we know from History, that pre Reformation English settlers regarded the Irish as a lesser race. They ate their own children apparently.
    And we know that post Reformation, late Elizabethians and Cromwellians felt that Catholics were lesser people and engaged in the usual de-humanising propaganda.
    As any Jacobite (they havent gone away you know) still insists Republicanism is a satanic cult……the first Republican was (in their view) Satan himself who tried to overthrow the legitimacy of a king.
    Even those who would regard themselves as “secular” (Polly Toynbe) etc are particuarly hostile to Catholics.
    And as every English football hooligan knows Swedish, Danish referees are more trustworthy than their southern European counterparts.
    Irealnd is effectively Southern European.
    So on any level Irish/Catholic/Republican……the 172,000 folks who vote SF-IRA already face a kind of prejudice from SOME extreme Christian sects as well as from the neo Whig liberal establishment.
    Our 2010 (neo Whig liberal) sensibilities tell us that we must not entertain any such thoughts that the 172,000 people are advocating or approving criminality….but a more sober analysis is called for.
    The terrorism, criminality (real and alleged) of SF-IRA has been much talked about…..including here on Slugger and Ive pointed out that despite the compelling evidence, not one of the 172,000 is in the slightest concerned.
    So I ask…..simply………WHY?

  • Cynic

    Dat would be one of those decommissioned Armalites things then.

    Didn’t they hand them all over. Quelle horreur!! Now that is a surprise.

    Thank God all this happened in a different country. If it had been In NI all hell might have broken out politically

  • Rory Carr

    “…not one of the 172,000 is in the slightest concerned.
    So I ask…..simply………WHY?”

    Oh, I dunno, Fitzjameshorse, it might be that none of them are terribly convinced by your arguments around the superiority of “neo-Whig liberal sensibilities”. Indeed they might find them more than a little insulting if they bothered to give a fuck, which I doubt, trusting them to be above such silliness.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    People vote for SF because they believe they were involved in an insurgency against the partition settlement which was forcibly imposed on them and which was overlaid by what we came to know and love as the Orange state. The concept of criminlaity is not and was not accepted by the Plain Nationalist People of Ulster as was demonstrated by the rise of SF when the British tried to impose it on those conducting the insurgency during the hunger strikes.

  • Rory Carr

    As to Cynic’s little snide on the weapon discovered – he would do well to consider that there has ever been and continues to be a steady leakage of arms from British defence forces into the criminal arena and a similar scenario applies in the USA and indeed in every nation that has an armed defence force and a criminal underworld which would, I suggest, be every nation on earth.

    There is no reason to demand standards of absolute control from the IRA leadership that are not able to be applied anywhere else.

  • jim

    the 172,000 sheep you talk about dont know any better.all sf/ira controlled areas are ghettos were people know to turn a blind eye to criminality.jean mc connvilles case proves that

  • Peter Fyfe

    Probably not that big of a threat though, Oul Angie probably hasn’t even had time to consider it.

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: …there has ever been and continues to be a steady leakage of arms…
    And therefore not to be regarded as ever having been of any significance, perhaps?
    Anyway, no doubt the fact that a Provo ex-con and an Armalite were found on the same spot is a mere coincidence, since the IRA had decommissioned. In any case, why would a Provo want an Armalite in the 26 counties in 2010?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    So Jim…you lean to the theory that the 172,000 are “sheep” (ie stupid) and are lesser for that reason.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    and your theory is that it was not criminal at all.
    I think its certainly true that nobody among the 172,000 thinks that.
    But the problem with that is that the enemies of nationalism will think those 172,000 are either very stupid “Jim” describes them as sheep or evil unsaved people…….either way “lesser”.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    RoryCarr, you appear to have totally misread my comment on “neo Whiggism” by which I meant the faux liberalism of the Overclass.
    There was a certain amount of Devils Advocacy in my post.The intent is indeed to show that the 172,000 dont give a tinkers curse what the neo-liberals in the Press (mainstream and otherwise) , religious bigots in SOME reformed Churches or mere anti Irish folks think.
    And despite all the information available to them will still vote SF……..much to the chagrin of their alleged intellectual or alleged religious superiors.

    It is a bit like the Homer Simpson/Frank Grimes storyline.
    Nobody gave a tinkers curse about Grimes pointing out Homers “flaws”.

  • Cynic

    “As to Cynic’s little snide on the weapon discovered”

    …… but we were told that the decommissioning had been verified by the International Commission

    …… and this gun wasn’t held by some gobshite in a bog in Kerry. It’s allegedly linked to very senior PIRA and Sinn Fein close to the leadership.

    Now why would senior SF members be involved in this too and have a gun?

    You’re a very poor apologist Rory

  • jim

    same reason when garda mc cabe got shot during one of their thieving escapades

  • Henry94

    However, it has been learned that those involved in the massive counterfeiting operation include a senior IRA man convicted of murdering a British soldier in the North and who was a close associate of Gerry Adams, and three known and current members of Sinn Fein.

    That’s a strange thing to write isn’t it. It has been learned? That’s well down the league table of journalistic claims. Not even “Garda sources”

    It could be read as a claim that three Sinn Fein members were involved but in fact it is saying that one of those involved was a close associate of three SF members. Which is so vague that it can only be concluded that the suggestion of SF member involvement was the point.

    Let’s see if there is anything about it in the serious press next week. Because this is either a huge story or no story. I’m betting no story.

  • tierney

    I know the Provies are the new Sticks but isn’t this taking it a bit far?

  • Cynic

    No its not. The comma suggests that 3 Shinners were involved. No doubt time will reveal all

  • Cynic

    They should have sub contracted the printing to the North Koreans

  • Cynic

    Now now Jim. The great bearded one has said that you cant be a republican and a criminal. And if you have swung a Royal Pardon perhaps that’s true.

    I actually find it delicious that all these ex-provies are running around flashing bits of paper signed by Liz and thereby implicitly recognizing her authority in these matters in the 6 counties. It has all the makings of one of Tom Sharpe’s books about South Africa

  • TheHorse

    Henry94 Spot on, close associate, says who exactly. This is undoubtedly sensationalizing and distorting the facts.

  • percy

    is the timing of the story related to putting the dampners on the bloody sunday enquiry?

  • Henry94

    Actually Jim Cusack’s claim in the article is clearly linking the IRA and Sinn Fein to the case

    The allegedly defunct IRA, along with members of Sinn Fein, were behind what Europol, the European police agency, said was one of the biggest and most sophisticated counterfeiting operations ever uncovered in Europe.

    The story is at the bottom of page 7.

  • jim

    the provies are blaming the world cup for putting the dampers on the bloody sunday thing ffs. nobody gives a fxxk

  • It was stopped, people were arrested, presumably there will be a trial. It may turn out to be a trial like the northern bank robbery trial, but, the shite gets deeper every time.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    So 172k people voted for what is essentially a walking contradiction.

    A party who condemn criminality yet centred their campaign for decades on pre-meditated murder, destruction of property, robbery and extortion. Despite claiming to be acting for the good of the Irish people, virtually all the above were inflicted ON Irish people.

    A party who’s military wing claimed to be engaged in a war, yet felt it a breach of human rights to suffer any casualties.

    A party who scream blue murder at deaths inflicted on ‘their community’ by ‘crown forces’, yet inflicted considerably more on ‘their community’ themselves.

    A party who glorify and commemerate the provos, the hunger strikers and ‘the armed struggle’, conveniently glossing over the fact that their campaign achieved F all squared. SF sit in a British administration in Stormont, signed up to long-term partition, decommissioning and the PSNI in exchange for absolutely nothing other than prisoner releases. Their campaign was a dismal failure yet they claim they can somehow deliver something in the future by failing in the past.

    A party who treat their electorate as fools by claiming that a vote for them is a vote for a UI, yet having signed up to the GFA, a UI can only be delivered by a majority in a border poll, something which SF manifestly cannot deliver.

    A party who’s leader denies ever being an IRA member, yet many recall him being an IRA commander.

    Now we have a situation where a senior provo may be involved in serious crime and possession of a dangerous weapon. Is this likely to put a serious dent in said electoral mandate? Given the above it would appear unlikely.

  • Procrasnow

    wonder where the armalite came from, cant have been imported in a PIRA shipment, they have all been decommissioned.

    on top of UVF guns that seemed to been passed over in the decommissioning process and used in recent execution, public confidence in the whole decommissioning process will disintegrate if this turns out to be a PIRA weapon.

    Is it time for Adams’s departure from the stage if he cannot even influence or inspire his friends to turn away from criminality?

  • joeCanuck

    I suggested it a couple of days ago but it is now truly confirmed: The Silly Season has started.
    Such a frenzy of speculation hasn’t been heard around here since the thing we are not allowed to talk about involving the politician and the tart.

  • joe

    It has been a slow news weekend & speculation is everything..

  • Cynic

    Oh do tell us more Joe … a subtle hint will do

  • keano

    criminal or otherwise, i think anyone has the right to involvement in criminality, after what the state has done to the people of this island, i think it is in peoples interest to make their own means. surely ye dont think the state will help people. let the politicians lead by example and then we can all condemn this sort of thing. its not right that only politicians can be criminals.

  • IRIA

    How does someone prove that this gun is a PIRA weapon-I assume you mean one that was PIRA owned and not destroyed, as opposed to a weapon that was simply purchased post decommissioning? Couldn’t this person have gone out on his own, or even pilfered a weapon from the Cokes?

  • aquifer

    So what is the money for? Election posters? A new secret army of lilywhite activists?

    Lets hope it is just for good times.

  • Cynic

    I am sure that PSNI will be able to tell exactly where it came from and what earlier crimes it may have been involved in.

  • Ulick

    Actually SF receives closer to 315k votes.

  • Cynic

    Any ideas why the BBC seems keen not to cover this story?

  • AR


    Was that satire? I honestly can’t tell who’s joking and who’s not on here.

  • joeCanuck

    How exactly does one display keeness not to do something?

  • Cynic

    By not doing it in the face of coverage in other media

  • Rory Carr

    The BBC are not reporting the story in the highly speculative terms that it has been covered by other less fastidious media outlets because they require higher standards of reportage than the idle dross so far reported and so far so easily swallowed and then further expanded upon by those who will always see things as they want to see them rather than as they might actually be.

    That a few IRA arms might have escaped the decommisioning process is neither of great cause for concern or much to be wondered at, as I said before, not all arms from the standing armies of nations are meticulously accounted for by their quartermaster departments and many, many in England, Europe and the USA find their way into the hands of those intent upon using them for criminal purposes, often former (or indeed active) members of the military.

    It is a feature of every conflict in human history that come the ceasefire some former combatants for whatever reasons will subsequently turn to crime but there is no reason whatsoever why this should affect the ongoing peace.

    Indeed it is by simply treating such matters as everday criminality in the usual way that normality is encouraged. By treating each incident as if it were somehow a negation of all the effort that has been invested into the peace process, as some here seem eager to do, we simply fall into the camp of the those dissident republicans and unionists who yearn for a return to conflict as they are slowly dying in the fresh air of peace.

  • Cynic

    Keep going Rory ……

    Are you auditioning for a Press Post in SF?

  • Ghost Bear

    lol the above obviously either Vance or McCann posting as an alter ego 🙂

  • another

    Pete, surprised that you missed this: