The clergy in rural County Galway have been asked to step up their own security in the wake of a second attack on a parish priest since the beginning of the year.
And the Gardaí have said that they are willing to provide advice on an individual or a group basis to priests when it comes to improving their home security.
Last weekend the home of Caherlistrane PP Fr. Pat O’Brien was forced by four intruders who tied him up and made off with a paltry amount of money.
But now the clergy in general have been advised to take additional steps to secure their parochial houses in the wake of this attack and one which occurred in early January in Fohenagh during which a priest was assaulted.
The Gardaí say that there may be a perception within the criminal element that there are large amounts of cash stored in priests’ houses and have urged that better security measures be put in place.
Detective Sergeant Mick O’Driscoll of Tuam Garda Station said that traditionally the priests of any parish receive callers on a daily basis but in the wake of these attacks, it was now time to be alert to the threat of roaming gangs of criminals.
He said that priests now had to look at their own security and urged them not to keep large sums of money in their parochial houses in the aftermath of weekend Masses.
Detective Sergeant O’Driscoll then confirmed that the Gardaí were following a number of lines of inquiry into the incident during which a gang of raiders ransacked Fr. Pat O’Brien’s house which left him shaken and traumatised.
One of the gang members repeatedly called him a paedophile and Fr. O’Brien revealed that he was particularly frightened of this individual.
The PP was watching the Ireland v Sweden soccer match on television when he answered a knock to the door on Friday night last. He had previously been with one of his parishioners whose sister had died. It is understood that the gang are from the Limerick or Cork area and had carried out the raid in the hope of finding money that they could use to pay for drugs.
The four men, dressed in balaclavas forced the door in on top of the priest and then tied him up as they ransacked the house.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to email@example.com or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
WATCH: The Olivers to the rescue … again!
Father and son rescue team Patrick and Morgan Oliver were back in action in Salthill this morning, when they helped a swimmer who got into difficulty.
A member of the public raised the alarm at around 10.30am and the Coastguard sought the assistance of Galway Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks.
Two members of the lifeboat shore crew made their way to the promenade to assist in the rescue.
Patrick and Morgan Oliver were fishing off Salthill at the time and spotted the man taking refuge on Palmers Rock about 200 metres from Salthill shore. They took him on board their fishing boat and brought him back to Galway Docks. Galway Lifeboat in the meantime was stood down.
The man was taken into the Lifeboat station where he received treatment for symptoms of hypothermia until an ambulance arrived.
Assurances given on progress of road, bridge and bus projects
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It will take time and a lot of money, but the city’s network of major transport projects will proceed on schedule – that was the assurance given this week to councillors by City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.
Councillors had expressed concerns at their meeting on Monday about the slow rate of progress being made with major capital projects including two new pedestrian bridges over the River Corrib.
However, Brendan McGrath told the meeting that the timelines for the range of capital transport projects – while challenging – were reasonable, pragmatic and achievable.
“All of the projects are moving forward but we must adhere to all the procedures and the different stages that have to be complied with: we have no choice in that,” said Brendan McGrath.
Senior City Council Engineer, Uinsinn Finn, in reply to a number of queries about potential new bus routes, said that while the Council worked closely with Bus Éireann and the bus companies, the local authority didn’t decide on the routes.
Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Peter Keane (FF), asked ‘how it could take 63 months’ to deliver a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Corrib even though the piers (old Corrib Railway Line) were already in place for the project.
“How can it take over five years to put a bridge like this over the Corrib,” he asked, after hearing that this €11 million Greenways-linked project would not be completed until 2026.
There is a snappier timescale for the Salmon Weir Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge – to be located adjacent to the existing structure on the southern side – with planning consent expected by next Summer and a completion date set for the end of 2022.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.