Rural people keeping guns beside their beds after attack on farmer

A 54-year-old farmer, was assaulted in his home in Brosna, outside Birr, Co Offaly earlier this week. Stock image
A 54-year-old farmer, was assaulted in his home in Brosna, outside Birr, Co Offaly earlier this week. Stock image
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

People are keeping guns beside their beds, following the vicious attack on a farmer in Offaly last week, a local Community Alert representative has said.

Richie McKelvey, a 54-year-old farmer, was assaulted in his home in Brosna, outside Birr, Co Offaly earlier this week.

Gardaí have appealed for information on his four attackers, saying they had Munster accents and used a high-powered 4X4 vehicle.

Speaking to Midlands 103, Aghancon Community Alert Chairman Joe Parlon highlighted the impact of the attack on the local area.

“Several people have said to me in the last number of days and it's coming from fear leading to anger that by god I have the shotgun beside the bed at the moment.

“That is the reaction that is there at the moment.

“I think as a community we have to try and do what we can to make sure that our community is more secure and that a situation is not there that Richard would feel that he could not come back and live in his own house because he is too afraid,” he said.

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Superintendent Martin Cashen said it was "a very serious incident."

He said Gardaí believe the public may have vital information which could lead to identifying the raiders.

"We would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious or even something just out of the ordinary in the area to contact us," he said.

"In particular, we would like to hear about any suspicious persons or vehicles in the Drumakeenan and Glassderrybeg areas on the N62 Birr to Roscrea Road that was noticed in the days leading up to the incident.

"If anyone has any information, no matter how trivial they might think it is, please contact Birr Garda Station immediately," Supt Cashen said.

Farmers and landowners in the area have already been combing their fields following a Garda appeal in a bid to trace any clothing or items that may have been discarded by the raiders following the burglary.

Gardaí are also checking CCTV security camera footage from towns and villages in the area to try to trace the movements of any vehicles matching the description of the powerful 4x4 believed to have been used by the raiders.

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While Garda inquiries are only at a preliminary stage, they do not believe that Dublin gangs who have been terrorising parts of the Midlands and Munster over recent weeks are responsible for the Brosna attack.

One Garda source said the farm raid is believed to have been conducted by a Limerick-based gang who have repeatedly targeted farms and agricultural facilities across Munster and south Leinster for cash and valuable farm machinery such as generators, quads and chain-saws which are then sold on.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Birr Gardaí on (057) 9169710 or the Garda Confidential Line on (1800) 666111.

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