Limerick family in fear after petrol bomb attacks

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

A ST Mary’s Park family are living in fear of their lives after the home next to them was targeted by a petrol bomb.

A ST Mary’s Park family are living in fear of their lives after the home next to them was targeted by a petrol bomb.

Mother-of-five Majella Johnson, who was born and reared in the area, is trying desperately to get out of the estate after two homes in her street were targeted by petrol bombers in the last five months.

When the house next to her in St Colmcille Avenue was set on fire last week, the bomb “clipped” the side of her wall and “bounced back”, which meant her garden wall was set on fire.

“I nearly was killed in my house. He set fire to the gas box next door, and it drove my two small kids out of bed,” she explained.

Now, a petrified Majella – who has children aged 7, 11, 17 and 21 – is trying to get out of the estate.

But because she has owned her own home for the last 12 years, she has seen council tenants moved ahead of her.

Now, her home is the only one left in the block - with the others burnt out.

The council has offered her “€60,000 to €70,000” for her home - which lies in a regeneration area - but she does not feel this is enough.

She says she was also offered the chance to go from being a homeowner to a council tenant, but she does not want to do this.

“I don’t want a house to rent. I own my house, and have worked hard for this. I would get nothing nowadays for €70,000”, she said. “I am trapped between these burnt-out houses. We are being punished because we own our own house. The council is not bothered.”

Majella says her young children have been living in fear since the first incident of petrol bombing near her home in January.

Heartbreakingly, her youngest daughter Laci, wrote a letter to her mother, saying: “Dear Mum, I love you. I am scared in case the petrol bom [sic] will happen.”

Every night since the start of the year, Majella says she has not had a proper night of sleep because her children cannot get to sleep.

“I have had to stay awake watching videos, because my son won’t go to sleep. We might eventually get to sleep about five, but then I would only get three hours of sleep, because they have to be up for school at eight,” she explained.

Majella said she is worried that the vandal will eventually access their back garden, take the families boilers out, remove the copper, and watch the house become flooded.

Referring to the petrol bombing on his street, 11-year-old Dyllon added: “It is scary. It happened last January, and it has happened again. I am just so scared.”

The mother-of-five stressed: “There are lovely people down here, we have brilliant neighbours. It is just one or two people who are ruining it. People talk about the feuding families, but you would not hear a word out of them.”

Majella – who has lobbied Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan on the matter – believes the council should have given private owners the choice to move out of the estates first.

“Council tenants have the choice of moving to Rhebogue, Corbally, anywhere. They should have been the last to go. We are being left out in the cold because we have our own house,” she told the Limerick Leader.

“All I want is a house for a house in another area.”

She is worried her estate could see a repeat of the tragic Gavin and Millie incident where two young children in Moyross suffered serious injuries as a result of a petrol bomb being placed in a car.