GARDAI have been granted a further 72 hours to detain and question two men, suspected of being involved in an aggravated burglary in Pallasgreen earlier this week, in which a teenage girl was tied up.
The culprits, who wore balaclavas, were armed with a shotgun and a sledgehammer when they forced entry into the family home in county Limerick at around 9.45pm on Monday.
It is believed the gang fled with about €5,000, although the family declined to specify the exact amount involved.
The family of six - both parents and four children - were watching TV at the time when the men forced their way into their home - a €1.35m property, which has been up for sale for a number of years.
This Thursday morning State solicitor Michael Murray made the application to extend the detention period of both men before Limerick District Court, following their arrest on Tuesday.
Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan, Henry Street garda station, told Judge Eamon O’Brien that the investigation is currently being staffed by 20 full-time gardai, and the investigation is being carried out “diligently and expeditiously”.
He said searches are ongoing for material evidence in the case, as well as the technical examination of certain evidence, which has been sent to the bureau in Dublin for forensic examination.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Tom O’Connor, brought the materials to Dublin, while gardai are also awaiting results of telecommunications analysis.
A firearm used in the burglary has not been located however, and gardai are still seeking two further suspects who have not been identified.
A number of witness statements have been taken, along with CCTV footage in numerous areas, while house to house enquiries are ongoing.
He outlined to the court that the men were arrested in Cork on suspicion of being involved in the aggravated burglary at Sunville House, Pallasgreen.
Nine interviews have been conducted with one of the suspects, lasting 10 hours and 28 minutes, while interviews with another suspect lasting 13 hours and 12 minutes, also over nine interviews.
Both men each have to date spent a total of 45 hours and 55 mins in custody, and both have requested two consultations with their solicitors.
Their defence objected to the extension of time granted for their detention, saying it is “unnecessary” however the State’s application was upheld by Judge O’Brien.