Rose Hanrahan, pictured several years ago, who was murdered in her home in Limerick Picture: Press 22
A ‘PALL of gloom and fear’ is hanging over the Limerick area of Thomondgate after the murder of 78-year-old Rose Hanrahan.
TD Willie O’Dea, who was a “life-long friend” of the widowed pensioner, said people are “very concerned” in the community following the woman’s death at her home in violent circumstances.
Gardai have confirmed that they are treating Mrs Hanrahan’s death as a murder, following results of a post-mortem at University Hospital Limerick.
It is believed that the woman died violently, possibly after a break-in to her home on New Road, Thomondgate.
The scene was still being preserved late this Sunday and Superintendent Derek Smart, who is leading the investigation, told the Limerick Leader that “no suspects have been identified at this stage”.
“We are still working through all the information that is coming in and obviously the examination of the scene will be a big thing. That will determine for us - but at this time, I can’t say that I have any suspects lined up,” he said.
It is likely that gardai will extend the court-ordered hold on the crime-scene, which was extended by 48-hours at a special sitting on Saturday. Supt Smart said there was a “strong possibility of it, yes, we will keep it for as long as we need it for”.
He reiterated a wide-ranging appeal to the community to come forward with any information, no matter how trivial it might seem.
“That is the message, no matter, even if you have been told third or fourth hand, I would appreciate contact be made with us and we will rule it in or out,” he said.
Gardai were called to the scene at 1.30pm on Friday and Supt Smart said the shocking discovery of the woman’s body was “very, very hard to take”.
“She was living a full life in regard to it, she was driving her own vehicle, and this is the end that she has come to - it is very hard to fathom and that is why the community, we would appeal to them to come together with us.
“Again, it is any information, even if you don't think it is relevant, let us decide how relevant it is, just pick up the phone and call us. The community, as always in Limerick, will come together, and I would appeal to them to just go that extra step and make the call.”
The Superintendent declined to discuss any specific details of the investigation or how the woman was murdered, and refused to speculate as to whether a burglary may have taken place at the house in Thomondgate.
Deputy O’Dea, who knew Mrs Hanrahan and her late husband Mike, who was an avid fisherman and worked for the Civic Trust, and said “the whole community is outraged” by her death.
“She was the one person in Thomondgate that I never heard one word spoken against, she was extraordinary. She was very gentle, kept to herself, very inoffensive person, but it was an awful way to die - an awful way for anybody, but particularly somebody like Rose, who was nothing but kindness personified,” he said.
“There is a pall of gloom over the place and there is also fear down there and that is why I am trying to encourage people to cooperate with the gardai and tell them anything they have seen, no matter how innocuous it might sound, it will be well received.
“There are a lot of elderly people there who are very concerned, I have a raft of applications for alarms and there are a lot of single parents there as well who are living with young kids.
"It is an absolute outrage - I just can’t get my head around the mentality of people, who would do something like that.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Mayorstone Garda Station on 061-456980 or 1800-666111.