Friday 24 January 2020

Woman arrested in connection with Post Office raid

Shopkeeper Nora Mai Kissane and her son John who helped an injured Garda in Beaufort yesterday. Photo: Don MacMonagle
Shopkeeper Nora Mai Kissane and her son John who helped an injured Garda in Beaufort yesterday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Ralph Riegel

A woman in her late twenties has been arrested in connection with an armed raid on a post office in Kerry on Wednesday.

The woman was arrested in Killarney yesterday evening around 5.30pm and is being held in the town.

Gardai have said the investigation is still on-going.

Meanwhile, two detectives whose patrol car was rammed by the getaway vehicle of armed raiders in Kerry immediately recognised the two men.

The revelation came as it emerged that the two men in their 30s arrested by gardaí following an armed raid on a Waterville Post Office are both from the Killarney area and have multiple previous convictions for robbery.

One also has associations with a feared rural crime gang.

Both were arrested after being found hiding in a farm shed in Beaufort on Wednesday evening.

Chief Supt Con Cadogan hailed the role that social media, text alert systems and local media played in foiling the raiders' escape.

A manhunt of the isolated Beaufort and Kilgobnet areas continued last night involving armed gardaí and dog units.

More than 30 officers are involved, including the armed Regional Support Units from Cork and Limerick.

However, it is now thought that a suspected third raider either wasn't in the car when it crashed or had been dropped off on the outskirts of Waterville.

The period of detention for the two arrested men was extended last night.

They are being questioned in Killarney and Tralee Garda Stations about the theft of €5,000 from Waterville Post Office.

Gardaí are still searching for the cash and the firearm used.

Postmistress Lisa O'Reilly and a number of French tourists were shocked when raiders, armed with a handgun, demanded cash at 11.15am on Wednesday and then fled in a Ford car.

The men later changed to a Mazda car but, thanks to local alerts and social media, they were spotted and their progress tracked.

The men rammed a Garda patrol car containing a male and a female detective outside Kilgobnet, and one Garda had to fire several shots to defend against the raiders.

Both detectives suffered soft tissue injuries but were later discharged after being treated at Kerry University Hospital in Tralee.

Reversing at speed, the raiders fled and burned out their Mazda car on the outskirts of the village.

They were later arrested after being found hiding in an isolated farm shed.

Beaufort shopkeeper Nora Mai Kissane (86) was shocked when an ambulance stopped outside her store and she was asked if the injured female detective could use a sink to wash the blood from her face.

"It was very shocking - she had a bandage covering most of her face and right down under her jaw," she said.

"I'd say she was very shook, so we did everything we could to help her."

Ms Kissane said such robberies are a plague on rural Ireland.

"We were raided here about four years ago," she said.

Chief Supt Cadogan paid tribute to community alert volunteers and local media for supporting the Garda manhunt.

Irish Independent

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