Cork leaders plead for calm after shooting
Published 18/05/2016 | 02:30
Church and political leaders have pleaded for illegal firearms to be surrendered in the wake of the shooting of an innocent woman in Cork.
The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, and the Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Chris O'Leary, appealed for weapons to be surrendered amid outrage over the shooting of Ciara Sheehan (21) early last Sunday morning.
Both issued the appeal amid concern that Cork, traditionally one of Ireland's safest cities, could witness an escalation in the violent crime that has scarred other communities.
Ms Sheehan was shot as she sat in a friend's home in Knocknaheeny watching TV at 12.30am on Sunday.
Gardaí acknowledged she was not the intended target of the reckless attack which is linked to a grudge against a family in the area.
She was shot in the neck and throat - and friends revealed that, had the bullet been just one centimetre to the side, she could have been killed or left paralysed.
Ciara's heartbroken mother, Susan O'Mahony, asked for public prayers for her daughter's recovery in Cork University Hospital (CUH).
The young woman remains in a serious but stable condition after emergency surgery.
"Please pray for her - I'm sorry if this is upsetting," Ms O'Mahony said after posting a picture of her daughter online. "I know it is shocking but this is the reality of it."
Dr Buckley joined with Ms O'Mahony in asking for prayers for Ciara's safe recovery.
But he also appealed for illegally-held firearms in Ireland to be surrendered.
"I would be very worried," he said. "We don't want the violence that is endemic in other cities to spread to Cork, which has been such a very peaceful city.
"Only in a few isolated instances over the past few years [has there been violent crime]. Gun crime is a most serious development in Irish society.
"I want them to hand over the guns. There is no place in our society for these illegal weapons.
"We have seen the destruction, sorrow, tragedy and trouble they have created in other cities. We don't want it here."
Cllr O'Leary also pleaded for restraint.
"I would urge them to calm down and take the time to start discussions to sort out whatever issues are involved here peacefully and respectfully."
Gardaí have made three arrests over the shooting incident.
A 29-year-old man remains in garda custody having been arrested one hour after Sunday's gun attack under the Offences Against the State Act.
A 21-year-old woman, also arrested on Sunday, has since been released without charge.
Yesterday, detectives arrested a man in his 60s for questioning.
On Monday, gardaí recovered an automatic handgun they suspect was used in the attack.