A postmistress and her husband have suffered a terrifying hostage ordeal in their own home.
Olive O'Dwyer and her husband Tony were taken prisoner by a gang armed with knives who got away with about €10,000.
Local people said the Tiger raid was all the more shocking as it happened less than a week after the murder of detective Adrian Donohoe, who grew up less than 12 miles away.
Mr O'Dwyer was driven from the family home near Virginia, Co Cavan, by gang members who ordered his wife to go to her post office in Oldcastle, Co Meath, and hand over cash as a ransom.
Cllr Shane P O'Reilly said: "It's an absolute outrage. Tony and Olive are the backbone of their rural community."
Former councillor Freddie Kettyle, a leading member of community alert groups, said: "Is there no end to this violence and to the extremes these criminals will go to? My heart goes out to the O'Dwyer family."
The gang broke into the family home around 10pm on Thursday night and held the couple hostage throughout the night. They then drove Mr O'Dwyer away. They warned his wife he would be harmed unless she cooperated fully with their plan.
She was ordered to drive to Oldcastle post office and remove all its cash and hand it over to them. The post office was due to make pension and social welfare payments yesterday.
Her husband was released around 10am in a field in the Rathbeale area of Swords in north Co Dublin.
The couple were uninjured but severely traumatised.
Gardai have set up an incident room in Kells, Co Meath, to co-ordinate the investigation.
They hope some people may have seen the movements of Mr O'Dwyer's white Peugot van, which has an orange light on top. Gardai have requested anyone with information to call them on 046-9280820 or any garda station.
Cllr O'Reilly added: "This crime just copper-fastens the need to improve rural policing in Ireland. This happened the same day 100 garda stations were closed down."
The Irish Postmasters' Union condemned the attack describing it as a "cowardly".
Union general secretary Brian McGann said post offices do not hold as much cash as criminals might think, because they are largely self-funded since they perform a number of banking transactions.