Barry 'to bring country to halt' over assault
Published 20/09/2009 | 00:00
MAGICIAN Keith Barry has labelled the Government's response to the vicious attack on his grandfather as "insulting".
The entertainer has vowed to "shut the country down" over the coming days to pressurise the government into introducing emergency legislation that will protect homeowners against intruders.
The 32-year-old star was speaking as his grandfather, Paddy Barry, lay critically ill in hospital after being attacked in his kitchen by thugs who kicked down his front door and forced their way into his home in Waterford city last Wednesday night.
The 82 year old suffered bleeding on the brain, a broken arm and facial injuries in the attack.
Speaking about Justice Minister Dermot Ahern's response to his pleas for the introduction of the emergency legislation, Mr Barry said: "I had a response from Dermot Ahern saying, 'Oh, we are addressing this and before Christmas we'll have something in place'.
"I find that an absolute insult. How many more pensioners are going to get robbed, terrorised, beaten, possibly murdered, before Christmas?
"When it suits him they can bring emergency legislation in. I think it's time for the whole country to stand up against these guys and say enough is enough. We need to feel safe in our own homes."
Mr Barry, who in a bitter twist of irony was at a launch for Headway, a charity which provides support for people affected by brain injury, said tomorrow will "tell a lot" about his grandfather's chances of survival.
"He's still in the same situation . . . in an unconscious state and unresponsive. He has had bad bleeding on the brain," he said.
Speaking about the previously fit-and-healthy pensioner he said: "They beat my grandad to within literally an inch of his life and they still could take his life. He is paralysed down the right-hand side of his body."
The heartbroken entertainer also vowed to bring the country to a halt this week.
Analysis Back Page
"I made a decision last night that I'm not going to stop [until I get a satisfactory response from the Government]. And I'm going to ask the country this coming week to shut down, drop what they're doing until the government does something to improve the situation to protect ourselves and our homes.
"And I mean that and it's going to cost millions. So have I got your attention now Dermot Ahern? Have I got your attention now Brian Cowen? I'm going to shut the country down."
Speaking on the Marianne Finucane programme later, Mr Ahern said there is "plenty of law" already in place to prosecute intruders.
"There is plenty of law existing whereby guards can prosecute and hopefully in circumstances such as Paddy Barry's case that people would be convicted under the existing legislation and put away for a long time."
Keith's father, Ken Barry, later spoke of his disgust at his father's brutal attack: "In this instance people can't wait. You work all your life. You don't offend anyone. My father paid his taxes. Afraid of the tax office in Limerick sending him demands. And [Health Minister] Mary Harney tried to take his bloody medical card away. That's what you get in this country. And then they beat him to a pulp. People want to be protected. For God's sake what's wrong with this country?"
Meanwhile, gardai in Waterford arrested a man in connection with the attack.
A garda spokesperson said: "A man is still in custody in relation to the crime, and no further arrests have been made.
"He will continue to be detained under Section 4 until he is released or charged."