'My brother is making a good recovery, but the nights are different' - Sister of farmer attacked in burglary hails his courage

Annette Meacle sister of Richie McKelvie, pictured at the entrance to his farm at Coolderry/Kilcolman, Co. Offaly.
PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Annette Meacle sister of Richie McKelvie, pictured at the entrance to his farm at Coolderry/Kilcolman, Co. Offaly. PIC COLIN O'RIORDAN
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The sister of a farmer who was attacked by criminals in his house earlier this month said he is now making a good recovery.

Nurse Annette Meacle's 54-year-old brother Richard McKelvey was dragged from his bed and beaten by a gang of four men at his home in Glassderry beg, Brosna near Birr, Co Offaly.

Speaking on to Sean O’Rourke on RTE radio today she said Richard is gradually getting back to work on the farm during the day.

“His confidence is taking a bit of time to come back, but like all countrymen, once you're out in the fresh air and among your livestock you'll get better.

“But the nights are different, she said. 

“He is staying with me now. It is due to his courage and the courage and support of his neighbours in the local farming community that he is going back now doing a bit of herding and staying for a little while on his own and acclimatising himself.

The entrance to Richard McKelvey's farm Co. Offaly Photo: Colin O'Riordain
The entrance to Richard McKelvey's farm Co. Offaly Photo: Colin O'Riordain

“I would be confident enough to a certain extent in his own time and in his own way he will go back.

“He is my only brother and in country life you make adjustments. While it’s an unfortunate turn of events for him, you just get on with it.

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“He’s a very private man and lives a very ordinary farmers life", she said.

Attack

On the night of the attack, Annette said Mr McKelvey did nothing out of the ordinary.

“He watched the Late Late Show. Tidied up around and went up to bed.

“He was awoken by four men bursting into his room and knocked the dog out of the way and pulled him out of the bed.

They continued to attack him and demand money before tying him up and locking him in a barn.

She said after the attack Mr McKelvey managed to get to his neighbours “a good half mile away”.

“I am very struck by the immense courage of that man and his wife as they are both in their early seventies.

“When my brother made his way to them it was 2 am.

“He was in bad shape when they opened their door and the man took Richard into his arms,” she said.

Mr McKelvey, a bachelor farmer who lived alone with his dog, fell victim to criminals two months ago when all of his elderly mother's jewellery was stolen from the same house. Mrs Meacle said her brother had upped his security after the incident.

Mrs Meacle believes motorway access has allowed rural areas in the centre of Ireland to become a "feeding ground" for roving criminals. She said rural Ireland is the backbone of urban Ireland and Gardai should be resourced to protect its residents.

"Put the local community guards back into the community, back into their garda station," she told RTE.

"Give them a presence so that they know the local knowledge and they know the people," she said.

Mrs Meacle also called for CCTV to cover motorway exits to help identify roving criminals.    

Mrs Meacle expressed her thanks to the community for their support in the wake of the attack. She was particularly thankful to the farming community for all of their support and assistance.

Online Editors


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