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Tuesday 24 September 2019

Gardaí extend detention period for men quizzed over Roscommon vigilante attack

Boarded-up: The house in Strokestown at the centre of the controversy
Boarded-up: The house in Strokestown at the centre of the controversy
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Two men are still being questioned about the illegal possession of a shotgun, which was seized in searches carried out by gardaí investigating the vicious assault on security guards protecting a repossessed house in Co Roscommon.

The period of detention for the two suspects was extended for a further 24 hours by a Garda chief superintendent yesterday.

The men, aged in their 50s and 60s, were arrested by officers from the Garda Special Branch during evidential searches at three houses and outhouses in a yard at another location in Co Roscommon on Wednesday morning.

Gardaí seized the gun, along with a lorry, a teleporter and mobile phones, during the raids.

Documentation and phones were also seized in searches in Navan, Co Meath, and Blanchardstown, west Dublin, on Monday.

Although there were no further arrests yesterday, gardaí continued to interview potential witnesses.

Video

Among those interviewed was a man who took video footage of the attack at the house at Falsk, Strokestown, on Sunday morning.

Officers were anxious to speak to the man after he attended the scene at 4.30am.

The attack left eight security guards hurt, three of them later receiving hospital treatment; and a dog being put down humanely after being struck with an axe.

The attackers were also armed with a shotgun and baseball bats.

Gardaí believe the attackers included a number of men who were angry that the security work at the house had been given to two firms from outside the area, with some of the staff hired from Northern Ireland.

A rumour was spread that the Northern security guards were "loyalists" but that was denied by gardaí.

Violence

Locals who learned about the planned attack, which had been discussed on WhatsApp, also joined in without knowing that it was to become violent. A number of the suspected ringleaders in the incident are known to have links to dissident republican groups but are not members.

Senior gardaí said the incident was not linked to dissident terrorism but was largely the result of discontent with the allocation of the work on behalf of KBC bank, even though some of those involved were registered here with the Private Security Authority.

Irish Independent

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