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Sunday 31 August 2014

'Drug addicts' behind brutal home raid on rugby star's dad

JIM CUSACK

Published 06/04/2014 | 02:30

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Leinster rugby scrum half Eoin Reddan and, inset, his father Don
Rugby star Eoin Reddan

GARDAI believe drug addicts from Limerick were responsible for attacking and robbing the elderly father of Ireland and Leinster rugby star Eoin Reddan in his home.

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Investigators lack a description of the masked raider who broke into widower Don Reddan's home on the outskirts of Limerick on Thursday night.

However, the robbery, in which Mr Reddan was "roughed up" before being bound and tied to a chair, fits a pattern associated with drug addicts who are known to have carried out other robberies in the area.

Parish priest Fr Michael Noonan, whose own parochial house in Raheen, Co Limerick, was raided last year, last night told the Sunday Independent: "People are very mindful here. There are 4,000 homes here and people are very mindful of this. People were breaking into houses all the time, then there was a lull and now it's happening again.

"Somebody broke into the parish house last year. There was no one in at the time. We saw him going in and coming out on the CCTV. A guard rang later to say the man had been caught and gone to prison.

"I gather a great deal of it has to do with drugs. Drugs are a perennial problem and they need money to keep going. They are serial offenders. What happened shows the evil of drugs."

Fianna Fail's justice spokesman Niall Collins, who lives a few miles from the Reddan home and knows the family, said the the attack was "a horrific experience for Don and for his family".

Mr Collins added: "It is extremely dangerous tying up anyone and leaving them. This could have been much more serious. Thankfully, Don was able to free himself."

It is understood the robber used plastic ties to bind Mr Reddan and duct tape to bind him to a chair.

The lone robber, who wore a balaclava, escaped with a small sum of money. It is believed he had an accomplice who drove him from the scene.

Gardai had not identified any suspects by yesterday afternoon. They did not have a description of the car used in the crime and are appealing for information from anyone who was in the Ballycummin area of Raheen between 10pm and midnight on Thursday.

Mr Reddan is an insurance broker in Limerick. His wife, Geraldine, a teacher at Laurel Hill in Limerick, died two years ago. Mr Reddan has four grown sons, including the international scrum-half Eoin, whose brothers Alan and Diarmuid also played for Leinster and Connacht.

Gardai have had considerable successes against the organised gangs who had been responsible for multiple late-night burglaries of businesses and homes, and charges have been brought against most members of these gangs. More than 100 are currently in prison or before the courts.

However, sources say that there is still a major problem with the type of random "low value" burglaries and aggravated burglaries by addicts desperate for drug money.

Addicts also have a tendency to be desperate in their actions and are as dangerous as organised criminals.

Gardai say rural addicts have little access to methadone and other treatments which can help them in withdrawal stages when they tend to be the most desperate and dangerous.

Unlike the situation in Dublin, where addicts are well catered for with methadone and medical services in 53 centres, there are only 11 GPs providing methadone treatment outside the capital and none west of the Shannon.

Sources said drugs and addiction are "probably" the major common factor in a high percentage of burglaries and home invasion crimes in rural areas. Heroin and other drugs have reached into "every parish in the country" a rural garda said yesterday.

Mr Redden, 74, was alone in his home on the outskirts of Limerick city when the robber, believed to be armed with a cudgel, broke into the house. He struck Mr Reddan a number of times and verbally threatened him before tying him to a chair. The incident happened around 10.30 on Thursday.

Mr Reddan was able to free himself and went to a neighbour's house at around 1.30am.

Another neighbour, Mrs Bernadette Campbell, said Mr Reddan was "roughed up" but not seriously injured. She said Mr Reddan underwent heart surgery last year.

Mr Reddan was taken to University Hospital Limerick and kept overnight for observation, but was released on Friday.

Sunday Independent

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