Monday 22 January 2018

Parish priest 'tied up' and locked in room as raiders ransacked his home

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Stock picture
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

A priest was tied up and locked in an upstairs room as raiders ransacked his rural home last night.

Parish Priest Canon Tony O'Keeffe was targeted at his home in Shanagolden, Co Limerick between 8pm and 9pm shortly after returning from Mass in nearby Foynes.

Local TD Niall Collins (FF) said: "They tied him up and they put him in a back room. They then ransacked the home where there was a safe."

Mr Collins said it was unclear if the raiders escaped with the contents of the safe.

Canon O'Keeffe eventually managed to free himself and raise the alarm. He was not physically injured in the attack but Deputy Collins said the cleric was "pretty traumatised" by the events.

Gardaí were called to the scene and an alert was issued across the community.

Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins
Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins

An incident room has been set up in Newcastlewest Garda station and gardaí have appealed for help locating the raiders.

In a statement gardaí said: "A male occupant was confronted by three males who entered the house. They locked the man in an upstairs room and ransacked the house. The man was not threatened or injured. He managed to free himself after a period of time and raised the alarm. The three men had fled the scene sometime previously.

"The scene was preserved for technical examination. The men are described as mid 20s of average height and were all wearing hoodies."

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen any activity in the vicinity of the Parochial House in Shanagolden, Co. Limerick, between 6pm and 9pm on Wednesday.

Deputy Collins said: "The community is in shock over this. What it shows is that while crime stats go up and down, crime never goes away. It also reminds us about the vulnerability of people living alone."

He continued: "I'm calling on the community or anybody who has any information of any relevance to pass it on to gardaí."

Witnesses can contact gardaí in Newcastlewest on 069-20650, the Confidential Line - 1800 666111 or Crimestoppers - 1800 250025.

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