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Saturday 20 September 2014

Bailieborough was transformed into "wild west" - locals

Sarah Stack

Published 06/09/2013 | 17:21

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The body of Patricia Kierans is taken away from her family home in Bailieborough, Co Cavan.
The body of Patricia Kierans is taken away from her family home in Bailieborough, Co Cavan.
The body of Patricia Cairns is removed from her home in Bailieborough, Co Cavan
06/09/2013 Garda at the house in Bailieborough Cavan where a womans body was found Photo Garrett White
Locals gather outside the home of Patricia Cairns in Bailieborough, Co Cavan
Locals gather outside the home of Patricia Cairns in Bailieborough, Co Cavan=

People in Bailieborough have said the town was turned into a "wild west" scene after a familiar face was talked out of a gunpoint stand-off.

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Elite armed gardai and specialist negotiators were drafted on to the streets of Cavan town as Oliver Kierans holed up in a basement of his local pub for more than seven hours overnight.

Jeweller Hubert Jennings was stopped getting back into the town centre by officers, who had closed down a large part of the area.

The 66-year-old was trying to reach his wife in their home next door to The Square Bar, where Kierans had barricaded himself in.

"I've never seen the like of it, you wouldn't see it in the wild west," he said.

Mr Jennings said gardai eventually rang his 63-year-old wife Jean inside the terraced house, flanked on either side by their shop and the pub, and ordered her to the front door.

"They met her at the door with their shields and brought her down the street," he said.

"She was really frightened. She's not too good today, she's still frightened. She was terrified. She won't talk about it."

The couple spent the night with their daughter out of town and only heard what had happened when they returned to Bailieborough in the morning.

Mother-of-four Patricia Kierans had been found shot dead in a house on the outskirts of the town, and her estranged husband Oliver was arrested after the stand off.

"I was surprised when I heard who it was," Mr Jennings continued.

"Sure I knew them well. We'd see them every day.

"They both used to work in the pub cleaning."

Retired butcher John E Sheanon, who lives across the road from the scene, said his family were ordered to stay indoors as events unfolded.

"They told us to stay indoors, they were adamant about that," he said.

"They made us aware of the situation and explained to us what procedure to follow."

Mr Sheanon said it was like a curfew had been put on the town, and compared it to being in a shelter during an air raid.

"This whole area was cordoned off," he said.

"The gardai did their job very discreetly and professionally."

Locals said up until recent months Mrs Kierans was regularly seen going to and from the pub several times a day, sometimes bringing in a meal, believed to be for her husband.

It is understood she also once held a cleaning job at The Square Bar, along with her husband who did odd jobs.

Mr Sheanon said the town has been bereaved and paralysed by her death and his arrest.

"There is a very subdued atmosphere," he said.

"People are just shocked at the whole crisis because both parties are very well known in the area.

"It's very sad. It has paralysed the town."

The former businessman described Mrs Kierans as a good "all rounder".

"By definition she was a lady," he said.

"She would be very quiet and very reserved, went about her daily chores.

"She was run of the mill, she would have done some work locally.

"She was regarded as very efficient, tidy and clean, a very good worker, and a good mother.

"A good all rounder you can say."

Mrs Kierans' husband was described as "a character" who was well known to local gardai, but did not have any previous convictions.

The former taxi driver was a regular punter in The Square Bar, where he also worked doing odd jobs.

Local residents said the woman's husband came from a large family in the locality and was well known.

His elderly father and several siblings still live in the area and are said to be stunned.

"He was a quiet fella," said one man, who asked not to be named.

Mr Kierans owned land and had a farm that he bought some years ago, but most locals were unsure if he still owned it.

"He also had a small digger too at one stage and did lawns for people," the man said.

Three of their children, Oliver, Gerard and Julie, were already living in Australia and Shane, who lives with his wife and children in the locality, flew out on Thursday to look at setting up home out there.

It is understood the tragic news was broken to him when he was stopped by officials at an airport mid-journey.

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