Wednesday 20 March 2019

Man (66) fights for life after row over €100 debt

Gardai are investigating the incident
Gardai are investigating the incident

Tom Brady and Conor Kane

A pensioner is on a life support machine after being battered over the head in a row over a debt of less than €100.

"Hostel" owner P J Kelly (66), was fighting for his life after he had been given "a bad beating" during the attack in his home.

Mr Kelly lives in a nine-bedroomed house at Kilcaroon, outside Ballyporeen in south Tipperary and runs it as an unofficial hostel for young people.

He was in a critical condition last night after being transferred from South Tipperary general hospital in Clonmel to Cork University Hospital.

Gardai believe he was struck several times on the head and body with what they described as a kitchen implement.

The prime suspect for the vicious assault had been staying in the house for a number of weeks and gardai think a row broke out over the money on Thursday afternoon.

An 18-year-old man, from Clonmel, subsequently called to the Garda station in Cahir with his parents and was arrested under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Mr Kelly's house is located about two kilometres from the centre of Ballyporeen, along the main Clogheen road.

The alarm was raised by a third party, who had also been staying in Mr Kelly's house.

Reports that drink was involved in the incident have been ruled out by investigators.

It's understood PJ Kelly drove a friend to Cashel in the morning and had just returned home when the assault took place.

The victim is a separated father of two who is originally from Galway and lived for some time in England, but moved to Ballyporeen about five years ago.

The district in which he lives is known as a "quiet, friendly area", according to independent TD Mattie McGrath who is based in nearby Newcastle and knows many of the locals.

The single-storey house was sealed off following the assault and examined by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.

Gardai also carried out door-to-door inquiries in an attempt to gather information.

Parish priest in Clogheen, Fr Patrick Butler, described the incident as "tragic".

Detectives appealed for anyone with information on the incident to contact Cahir garda station on 052-7445630 or any Garda station.

Irish Independent

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