Fear 'rampant' in rural Limerick after 93-year-old man is targeted

Ballyhoura chairman reiterates calls for a nightcare facility

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Fear 'rampant' in rural Limerick after 93-year-old man is targeted

Former Ballyhoura chairman, John Walsh

A FORMER Ballyhoura chairman has reiterated calls for a nightcare facility following the attempted burglary of a 93-year-old’s home in Kilfinane / Ballylanders and the death of 90-year-old Paddy Lyons.

John Walsh, Boher, said fear is “rampant” amongst the elderly living in rural County Limerick.

“Having people miserable, nervous and frightened at night-time in their own homes is no life. Doors are shuts at 4pm in the winter and not opened until 10 the following morning with people inside shivering with the fear. They are sleeping with hurleys and guns beside the bed,” said Mr Walsh.

He first raised the idea of a nightcare facility a year ago following the closure of the convent in Doon.

“I think there is a huge demand for it but I can’t get the statutory bodies to buy into it. It isn’t rocket science. We have a lot of daycare facilities in County Limerick, who provide a fantastic service, so why not one or two nightcare ones?

“They could go there in the evening, enjoy a good night’s sleep in a secure environment, have breakfast in the morning and then go home. It would bring great peace of mind. I think if they had the choice they could make their own decision,” said Mr Walsh.

Of course there is a concern that the house will be broken into when the person is gone for the night, he says.

“It is still better that they are broken into when they are not there than when they are. We saw what happened that poor man in Waterford and the brave actions of the the 93-year-old in Kilfinane / Ballylanders. But these are only the ones that we hear about due to their severity.

“I have got complaints from the elderly living on their own on the Main Streets of villages and towns that young fellows are coming out of the pub and knocking on their doors. It is very upsetting for a poor old woman or man inside, not knowing whether to open the door or ring the guards or what to do. There are poor people scared every night about what could happen,” said Mr Walsh.

The nightcare idea came from one man who would often ring him at 3am, saying there was someone outside.

“It was pure fear. It was just wind blowing an old gutter or something but he was a nervous wreck. There is an awful lot of people I know like that. He was afraid of his life to stay in the place at night. In the finish he did go to a bed and breakfast, paid for it and came home during the day. He did that for six months, he was that frightened,” said Mr Walsh. 

As a farming representative on the council’s Economic Development, Enterprise and Planning SPC, Mr Walsh has his nightcare plan on the agenda of April’s meeting.