Publican Willie Moloney
The courageous actions of a rural publican during an attempted robbery at his premises were commended by a Circuit Court judge.
Willie Moloney tackled a masked raider, who was armed with an imitation firearm, and wrestled him to the ground causing the pellet gun to fall and the aggressor to flee.
In a powerful victim impact statement read out in court the publican outlined how his life has been negatively impacted since the violent attack.
“It is the worst incident since I got involved in the licensed trade in 1975,” said Mr Moloney who has been the victim of several other robberies.
“I feel nervous and vulnerable when locking up. If I hear noises during the night I will get up and check. I didn’t do that before as I felt relaxed.
“It has impacted my daily routine and it has impacted severely on elderly customers, family and friends. The trade in the pub has been affected,” he added.
Aaron Power, Power Villas, Piltown admitted attempted robbery at Moloney’s Pub in Skough, Piltown on July 13, 2017 and was sentenced to five and a half years behind bars with three years suspended.
A co-accused, the driver of the getaway car, has previously appeared in court and was sentenced to five years in prison, with the final two years suspended.
Garda Aidan Walsh gave evidence in the sentencing case and outlined how the pub was in a very rural area and was located at a crossroads.
“They trade just in the evening and it is a local, family run pub.
“The attempted robbery was reported at 10.30pm where staff were threatened at gun point and told to get on the floor.
“The owner heard a noise and came in and confronted the robber and tackled him and the gun fell to the floor and a struggle ensued.”
The court heard that the two masked men, who had entered the pub, fled following the scuffle.
Willie Moloney told gardaí that after hearing a commotion ‘he came out fast to the bar’ and added that the ‘voice sounded local’ and that the man ‘had something in his hand, it looked like a gun’.
“In the height of desperation I wrestled him’,” he said.
The defendant fled the scene and was arrested the following morning. He was co-operative and admitted his involvement in the crime.
Power has no previous convictions in this jurisdiction and two in the UK and lives locally in the same parish as the victim of his crime.
Psychological and probation reports were handed into the court in respect of the 21-year-old. The court heard that he was diagnosed at a young age with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder and had attended youth mental health services from the age of six to 12.
The court heard that his ‘hyperactivity led him to being alienated and ridiculed in school in order to get approval’.
“He acquiesces to others in order to be liked. He realises the impact that his actions have had on the Moloney family and their patrons.
“The attempted robbery was thought up on the afternoon of the day in question. One of the co-accused was wearing swimming shorts on his head.
“Once confronted he did not pursue the robbery. He was remorseful and wrote a letter of apology to Mr Moloney,” said the defence counsel who added that his client has excellent support from his family.
Judge Patrick Meghen commended Mr Moloney and said that he had ‘acted courageously and tackled the defendant and the gun had dropped to the ground’.
He sentenced the defendant to five and a half years in prison, suspending the final three and a half years of the sentence subject to a number of conditions.