28/05/2010

'Kidnap' Bank Robbery Suspects Quizzed

While three women being held under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act were released yesterday, Gardaí are continuing to question eight people arrested over the false imprisonment of former Kilkenny hurler Adrian Ronan and his family.

The case is believed to be on foot of the attempted robbery of a bank last winter.

The police also said that another woman has since been arrested in connection with the incident, bringing the total number of people in custody to eight.

Six of those arrested are being held under section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007, while two are being held under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939.

The Ronan family's ordeal began at their home at Michael's Church, Ballycallan, Co Kilkenny, at 6.15am on November 3rd last.

Three masked men, at least one of whom was armed with a handgun, broke into the house.

Ms Ronan was taken away at gunpoint. Mr Ronan was left with instructions to go to work as normal at 9am to the Parliament Street branch of the Bank of Ireland in Kilkenny. He was told his wife would only be released if he took €3 million from the branch.

The gang gave him a phone saying they would ring him later and direct him where to drop the money off for collection.

When the gang members rang Mr Ronan just before noon, he told them he was only able to get €200,000 because of the time-lock systems on the safe. They demanded he get more money.

Just after 1pm the gang rang him back and told him to put whatever money he had in a bag and await further instruction. He never heard from the gang again.

However, the bank had told gardaí what was happening and a major police operation was put in place.

Ms Ronan was being held at an unattended weather station on the Granges Road, close to St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny city.

The man holding her left her there in the early afternoon and she managed to make her way outside.

She was spotted by gardaí just after 2pm and reunited with her husband and children a short time later.

(BMcC/GK)

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