Former Dublin hurler appears charged with alleged €13k Ardagh post office robbery

Suspect is due to appear in Longford District Court next Tuesday

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Caused criminal damage during Dundalk burglary

A former Dublin senior county hurler and heroin addict who allegedly stole over €13,000 during an armed robbery from a post office in Co Longford yesterday afternoon has appeared in court.

Alan Coyne (44) of Ballinaree Cottage, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford was brought before a sitting of Mullingar District Court this morning charged with the theft of €13,278 from Ardagh Post Office, Co Longford on October 16 2019.

He was also charged with the unauthorised taking of a blue Mazda car from Ardagh Demesne, Ardagh, Co Longford on the same date.

Detective Garda Padraig Fahy gave evidence of arresting the Dublin native shortly before midnight last night at Granard Garda Station where he was later charged.

He said Mr Coyne replied "no" after caution when both charges were put to him.

The court heard no directions were, as of yet, available from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with the case likely to go forward for trial on indictment.

When asked by Judge Seamus Hughes what would ultimately be alleged as a result of the incident, Det Garda Fahy said it would be claimed the accused entered Ardagh Post Office at 2:40pm wearing a baseball cap and armed with a small knife.

Read also: Ardagh Post Office robbery update: Detectives quiz suspect following release from hospital

He said it would be alleged Mr Coyne, who attempted to conceal his face with a "cloth" type garment, demanded money from a clerk who was at the counter. 

A female customer was also present, he said, together with a third civilian who was in the process of carrying out a delivery at the time.

Det Garda Fahy said Mr Coyne allegedly approached the customer, instructing her to hand over the keys to her car before taking off from the scene with over €13,000 in cash.

Judge Hughes was told it would be the State's case Mr Coyne sped off in the Carrickboy direction of Co Longford where a Garda Traffic Corps Unit came across the accused.

Det Garda Fahy said it would be alleged during his attempts to give gardaí the slip, Mr Coyne lost control of the car just outside Edgeworthstown resulting in the vehicle hitting a ditch and rolling over a couple of times.

Read also: Armed raider threatened customer before making off in car

The court heard the car was written off as a consequence but that all of the money allegedly stolen in the raid had since been recovered.

Det Garda Fahy said the defendant was originally from the Blanchardstown area but had been living in Edgeworthstown for the past year where he has a partner.

Wearing a green t-shirt, dark trousers and a jumper draped over his shoulders, Mr Coyne asked to address the court when his solicitor Aine Gordon indicated there would be no application for bail.

Mr Coyne said he had played for senior inter county hurling for Dublin in the past, was a former member of St Brigid's GAA and had graced Croke Park "many times".

He said he had started taking drugs, more specifically heroin from the age of 21, but had been clean for the past five years.

Mr Coyne said he had been under duress over an outstanding drug debt of around €1500 at the time, prompting yesterday's turn of events.

He also revealed he endured significant childhood abuse in the past and had worked in construction most of his adult life.

Judge Hughes remanded Mr Coyne in custody to a sitting of Longford District Court next Tuesday.

Read also: High speed garda chase leads to man's arrest following Ardagh Post Office raid