An elderly couple and their son are recovering after a terrifying ordeal in which they were attacked and robbed by an armed gang.
Business owners Frank and Mary Duane, who are both in their 70s, were targeted by men carrying weapons in the village of Kiltullagh, Co Galway.
The Duane family have run the local grocery, hardware store, filling station and post office in Kiltullagh for decades.
The gang were apparently seeking cash locked in the safe in the post office when they struck late on Thursday night.
Mrs Duane went to answer a knock at the door of the family home at the business premises when three masked men pushed past her.
The gang were demanding access to the safe when the couple's unsuspecting son, Anthony, walked in on the raid.
One of the men struck him over the head with a hammer. His father, Frank, was struck across the legs by another of the men, carrying what appeared to be a crowbar. One of the gang then ordered Mrs Duane to get the keys to the safe and forced her to go to the post office.
He demanded that she open the safe but she was unable to do so because it was on a time lock. The gang gathered up cash elsewhere on the premises and fled towards Ballinasloe in a high-powered car, which may have been an Audi.
The shaken family managed to raise the alarm and gardai were at the premises a short time afterwards.
Anthony received medical attention for his head injury and all three were badly shaken by the experience.
Fears have been heightened in the area following the closure a mere 12 months ago of Kiltullagh garda station.
"These thugs seem to be able to do whatever they want these days. We are just an hour and a half from Dublin for anybody using the motorway. It's very worrying," said one local woman.
Anybody with information is asked to call gardai on 091 53 8000.