Crime Ireland: Business on the brink as owner 'has had enough' of break-ins
The heavy cost of repeated break-ins has forced Geraldine Sullivan to consider the prospect of permanently closing her small convenience store.
Her premises has been robbed four times, with another six attempted break-ins, in the 14 years since she bought the business in the village of Ardcroney, County Tipperary.
Apart from the cost of cash and goods stolen, there is also the expense of repairing damage to the premises and tightening up security measures.
The businesswoman also finds it difficult to get insurance for the property.
"Neither I nor my husband can go out for a night because you are always on alert, there is constant pressure, worrying when you are going to be targeted again," she told the Irish Independent.
"I have absolute admiration for people who defend their property because I know how costly it is to be repeatedly targeted.
"I have had to turn this little shop into Long Kesh."
Thieves have smashed their way into the shop through the front door and windows and through the roof.
In one incident, a gang that had cut the phone lines to disable the alarm spent four hours in the shop, pulling out a safe containing €4,000.
The culprits eventually removed the safe, which was taken away on a trailer stolen from a local farmyard.
Gardaí later found the safe, which had been cut open with an angle grinder.
"They (thieves) meant business because one of them had a baseball bat and the other had a gun," said Ms Sullivan.
"On another occasion, a gang rammed a gate at the back of the building and when they couldn't get in, they came around the front and broke open the shutter and door.
"It took them seven minutes to get in and then they were inside for another 10 minutes with the alarm going off - the gardaí only missed them by a minute.
"Tills containing over €300 were taken, along with €3,000 worth of cigarettes and tablets. The cost of the damage was another €3,000."
The repeated robberies have affected Ms Sullivan so much that she is now weighing up her options about her little business.
"I have been left wondering if it is worth remaining open because a small business like this is not making enough to sustain such big losses," she said.
"The last time there was a break-in, I seriously considered just closing the door and not opening again because I have just had enough.
"If these people (the burglars) get sick in the morning, the State gives them everything, while a self-employed person like me can get nothing.
"It really isn't fair and it is no wonder people talk about taking the law into their own hands."