Criminals flee as Limerick man, 93, fires shotgun 

 Elderly bachelor is commended for his 'bravery'

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Criminals flee as Limerick man, 93, fires shotgun 

Gardai are investigating the incident

CRIMINALS trying to break into a house with a slash hook fled after a 93-year-old Limerick man fired his shotgun over their heads.

The elderly man, who lives on his own in the Kilfinane / Ballylanders area, heard his door being kicked in late at night. The perpetrators then smashed two panes of glass in the door and a light, with a slash hook.

It is understood the bachelor then warned them he was armed. Undeterred, the burglars then moved to a front window, broke it and, as a hand reached in to open the latch the 93-year-old shot over the intruder’s head. The assailants then ran from the scene.

One of his neighbours told the Leader: “He fired that shot into the air to save his own life. He is some man to do it at his age. If he hadn’t he could have been like that poor man in Waterford at the weekend.”

A young man was charged this Wednesday with the murder of 90-year-old Paddy Lyons in his isolated farmhouse in Lismore. Locals also spoke of John O’Donoghue in Doon, who died of a heart attack in 2015 after he returned home to find a gang ransacking his rural home.

The incident in Kilfinane / Ballylanders occurred on Tuesday, February 21 at around 10pm. Neighbours say the victim has been very disturbed by it and hasn’t been sleeping well at night since.

Deputy Niall Collins said the local community is very shocked at these events and the ordeal he suffered.

“This man fired into the air, as a warning, which is his right to do. They fully support him and many expressed the view to me that they would like to have seen these intruders shot on site,” said Mr Collins.

“Attacks like this on rural communities are endemic of the gutting of rural Ireland by Fine Gael. With the closure of rural garda stations, and reduced garda presence in our towns and villages, criminals are being emboldened to be more daring. It seems that the victims of crime often play second fiddle to the needs of criminals,” he added.

Chairman of the Cappamore-Kilmallock municipal district, Cllr Eddie Ryan said what happened to the man in his nineties was “so close to the situation in Waterford”.

“The result here is different and better thank God. This man is an honest, decent, hard-working man, who worked hard all his life. He is now in his retirement, enjoying his old age and the fact he can’t be left to live in peace… It is the lowest of the low,” said Cllr Ryan.

The victim of the attempted burglary must be saluted for defending himself and his property, said the councillor.

“For a man of his age, of any age for that matter, the action he took was very brave and he has to be saluted for it. His neighbours are upset and outraged at what has gone on in this community,” said Cllr Ryan.

He says it highlights the necessity for more guards in the Bruff district which is the size of County Louth.

“They are short of manpower, they are short of good vehicles to do the job that we are depending on them to do. We have no garda station in Galbally, no garda station in Kilfinane. We are a massive stretch of ground with no police presence,” said Cllr Ryan.

A spokesperson for the Garda Press Office said: “Gardaí are investigating the circumstances surrounding a burglary incident in the Ballylanders / Kilfinane area on February 21 at approximately 10pm. No arrests have been made.”

It is not known how many assailants there were. Anybody who has information that may help the investigation is asked to contact Bruff Garda Station on 061 382940.

Repairs have been made to the house and extra security has been installed this week - including a personal alarm - as the 93-year-old attempts to get on with his life after the frightening experience.