Tallaght priest robbed at knifepoint and forced to be getaway driver

By Mary Dennehy

THE search is on for a masked raider who threatened and robbed a Tallaght priest at knifepoint, before frighteningly forcing the priest to drive him and the stolen goods away from the scene.

The traumatic event happened last Thursday, November 24, when a masked man entered the parochial house in Springfield and threatened and robbed Father Chris Derwin – who is a new priest to the parish of St Mark’s.

Springfild Priests House 01 December 2016

The Echo understands that a number of parishioners were in the house at the time of the violent raid, which saw Father Chris threatened at knifepoint and forced to hand over his television and a number of personal items, such as his wallet, phone, watch and music player.

Father Chris was then forced against his will to get into his own car and drive the raider and the stolen items away from the scene in Maplewood, Springfield, to Kilmartin in Fettercairn – where the raider got out of the car with the stolen items and fled on foot.

A senior Garda source told The Echo: “The priest was inside the house with other people when a masked man entered the home through the back door.

“The raider was armed with a knife and threatened violence if those present did not do what he said, forcing the priest to hand over his television and a number of personal effects.

“He then forced the priest out to his car with the television and made him drive from Maplewood to Kilmartin, where the raider got out of the car and legged it into the darkness.”

The source added: “The priest was not physically injured but this was a very traumatic and frightening event . . . one which is not very common. It’s not often that a criminal will get a victim to give them a lift away from the scene.

“We are asking anybody who may have noticed anything suspicious in the Springfield or Fettercairn areas between 10pm and 11pm last Thursday, November 24, to get in touch.

“We are looking for a single male with a local Dublin accent. We don’t have any more of a description as his face was covered.

“We have carried out a number of interviews and are currently examining CCTV, but anybody with information is encouraged to contact Tallaght Garda Station.”

The community of Springfield has been left shocked after the incident, with its members this week rallying around and offering support to Father Chris.

Tallaght Fianna Fáil councillor, and Springfield resident, Charlie O’Connor said: “I’m personally shocked over this incident and I think my shock reflects the view of the entire community.

“Father Chris is a young priest in a new parish and this is an appalling way to introduce him to the community.

“I have spoken with Father Chris and he is dealing with it well and is being supported by the community.”

He added: “This incident is not a reflection of Springfield or of Tallaght and I would urge anybody who has any information to come forward and co-operate with gardaí.”

The Dublin diocese told The Echo that they are aware of a reported incident in Tallaght.

However, due to ongoing investigations they were not in a position to comment at this time.

Call Tallaght Garda Station on 6666000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

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