Gardai in Limerick renew appeal after priest's 'frightening ordeal'

Appeal for information after break-in at parochial house in Shanagolden

Maria Flannery


Maria Flannery


Gardai in Limerick renew appeal after priest's 'frightening ordeal'

Fr Tony O'Keeffe pictured in Foynes

GARDAI at Askeaton and Newcastle West have renewed an appeal for information almost a week after an aggravated burglary during which a priest was tied up and locked in a room.

The break-in at the parochial house in Shanagolden took place on the evening of Wednesday, February 1, between 8pm and 8.30pm.

Canon Tony O’Keeffe was locked into an upstairs room by the assailants after being forced to hand over money.

The culprits, three men, forced their way into the house and threatened the 72-year-old man, making away with a quantity of cash and a CCTV system from the house.

“This must have been a frightening ordeal for the victim and Gardai are appealing for any person who may have any information, or otherwise saw or observed anything of a suspicious nature, to contact Newcastle West gardai,” said a garda spokesperson.

After the burglars made their escape, Canon O’Keeffe managed to free himself and he subsequently raised the alarm.

The parish priest was just returning from saying Mass in Foynes when he was approached by the three men.

County Limerick TD Niall Collins said that the cleric and the wider community were “traumatised” in the aftermath of the incident.

“He’s pretty shook up, and the local community is completely shocked by it. It just shows that the crime statistics go up and down, but crime never goes away, and it shows the degree of vulnerability of people living alone in rural Ireland,” he added.

Those with information can contact Newcastle West gardai at 069 20650 or 1800 666 111.