Monday 27 February 2017

Enda Kenny 'upset' as friend beaten in raid on her home

Greg Harkin

Regina Sweeney, who was beaten and robbed
Regina Sweeney, who was beaten and robbed

A PERSONAL friend of Taoiseach Enda Kenny has spoken of her terror after being viciously beaten during a violent robbery at her home.

Regina Sweeney, a garda detective's wife, was called by Mr Kenny after the incident at her home in Mayo, the latest in a series of aggravated burglaries in the west of Ireland.

Her late father Liam Coady was Mr Kenny's driver until he passed away two years ago.

Armed gardai backed up by more than 20 other garda vehicles spent 10 hours trying to find the gang, which escaped in a high-powered 2.5-litre Subaru legacy, with speeds of up to 200kmh recorded.

Ransacked

Mrs Sweeney, whose husband Declan is based in Castlebar, spoke of her horror as one gang member attacked her at her home at Breaffy while other gang members ransacked her home.

"He grabbed me by a plait in my hair and pulled out a clump of it. He never uttered a word and just pushed me forward again and again," she said.

"I smashed into the wall. My head was cut when I connected with a wrought iron coat hanger. He threw me on to the balcony beside the stairs. I fell forward at that stage, on to my knees.

"All the time while this was going on there must have been others in the kitchen because I could hear smashing going on. When I eventually got into the kitchen part of the house it resembled a train wreck."

Mrs Sweeney, who runs a bridal business from her home, suffered a cracked cheekbone, a bruised kidney, whiplash and cuts and bruises.

She said her first thought was for brides whose dresses were on the premises.

Garda sources confirmed more than 20 patrol units were alerted in five counties to help catch the gang after the raid.

The getaway car was spotted on four occasions over the following nine hours but garda patrol vehicles weren't powerful enough to keep up with the Subaru and the chase ended at 5am the next day, one of the longest recorded in the west.

It is just the latest in a crime wave across the west of Ireland in recent weeks.

The Irish Independent has learnt that the gang behind the raids is from the Limerick area and has targeted Mayo and Sligo in more than 30 aggravated burglaries in the past eight weeks.

Mrs Sweeney spent yesterday at Castlebar General Hospital being treated for her injuries following Saturday evening's attack.

She said her bid to key in a burglar warning into a home security system failed when one of the gang launched the vicious attack. She also said a significant sum of money was taken.

Mr Kenny was said to be "extremely upset" by the incident.

"He was very fond of Liam and got to know Regina extremely well," said one party colleague.

Irish Independent

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