They shoved a shotgun in my temple, says victim of rural crime
A family who were threatened with a sawn-off shotgun, beaten and then tied up before being robbed in their Limerick home have recalled their horrific experience of rural crime.
Gerry Garvey, from Pallasgreen in Rathkeale, told how armed invaders shouted and held the firearm against his head during the 2012 raid.
"We were faced with a couple of intruders bursting in through the door, fully masked, one with a sawn-off shot-gun.
"My daughter was tied up, I was put face down on the ground, handcuffed behind my back and a sawn-off shotgun shoved into my temple," Mr Garvey said.
He was speaking in the documentary 'Insight: Ireland's Rural Crimewave' which broadcasts tonight on UTV Ireland at 8pm.
"My son, who had run upstairs, one of the guys caught him just as he was getting into the bathroom and he got a belt into the jaw, so he was assaulted. That's not something he forgets too easily."
The programme hears the experiences of numerous people who have been victims of rural crime, including a parish priest who outlines raiders' attempts to rob a poor box.
Tipperary-based garda and GRA representative Tom Finnan discusses how the decrease in garda personnel had a huge impact on local communities.
He said particular groups were more vulnerable than others and many people had taken to sleeping with guns at night.
He says: "Old people, people living alone, are vulnerable in their homes due to us not having the full resources that we need. Station closures shouldn't have been happening when they did happen.
"The local community knew their local guard. He was a lynchpin for them to communicate with, whether it be a passport to be signed or just a chat. He got information from his local community and he knew what was happening."
The programme also looks at how criminal gangs are now using modern technology to break into homes around the country and how they are availing of Ireland's motorway network to make their getaway.
After the Irish Independent led a campaign to highlight the rise of rural crime and its impact on homes nationwide, the Government has pledged to tackle criminal gangs.
More than 250 new high-powered garda vehicles are being made available in the fight against the criminals.
The Irish Farmers' Association said electric gates, CCTV cameras and other security measures were being installed by rural families and that a "siege mentality" was taking grip.