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The Seven Million Dollar Man

Sam Millar's life reads like fiction. Born in Belfast, Sam joined the IRA and went from the H-Block blanket protests in Northern Ireland to a part in one of the biggest cash robberies in US history. These days he is a writer of crime novels. (2020)

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Documentary Maker: Michael Kealy

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Documentary maker: Tim Desmond

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The Seven Million Dollar Man

Sam Millar's life is stranger than fiction.

His only interest as a teenager was in comic books and girls until one day his brother took Sam on a trip to Derry... they arrived in the middle of Bloody Sunday. Not long after, his best friend was shot dead by the UVF and Sam joined the IRA. He ended up in jail and became the first Catholic to be sentenced under the non-jury Diplock court system. After his release reported once again for active duty and was once again caught, this time receiving a 10-year sentence. Life in Long Kesh was tough and he was one of the first prisoners to go "on the blanket", to protest conditions there. Sam was asked to join the hunger strikes but couldn't bring himself to do it... for which he felt incredible guilt.

After getting out of jail again in the mid-80s Sam went to America, settling in New York and working for an Irish American mobster as a bag man for the underground casinos. he quickly moved up the ranks was making money hand over fist. A friend of his worked in a Brink's cash depot upstate in Rochester and Sam used to occasionally visit him there. He was amazed at the lack of security and the sheer amount of money that they had in their vault. By that time his wife, who he'd met in Belfast, moved over and they started a family but the money in Rochester was playing on his mind and in the end he couldn't help himself... he hatched a plot to rob the place, a decision he now says is his only regret in life.

After spending time in Prison in the US, Sam returned to Belfast and began writing about his experiences. After discovering a talent for the written word Sam is now a best-selling author of crime fiction.

An Irish Priest, an Irish American ex-cop and a Liverpool-Irish Boxer all have a part to play in this extraordinary tale.

Narrated by Michael Kealy

Readings by Patrick Dunne

Produced by Michael Kealy and Tim Desmond

First broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday August 22nd, 2020 at 1PM

Repeated on RTÉ Radio 1, Sunday August 23rd, 2020 at 7PM

Sam Millar's memoir 'On The Brinks' and his fiction can all be found here 

Gary Craig's account of the Brinks Robbery can be found here 

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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