A man has been held in custody at Shannon Garda Station following the alleged discharge of a shotgun in the Sixmilebridge area during what has been described as a “terrifying ordeal” for three local people.
It is alleged the 50 year-old man, who works as a farm labourer in the Croom area, held a 67-year-old visiting gardener at gunpoint for almost two and a half hours after getting a taxi to the house, a few miles from Sixmilebridge on Thursday night.
The man can be held in custody for up to 24 hours before a decision is made to seek another extension or other action following direction from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He is being held in custody under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act in relation to the alleged possession and discharge of a firearm in the Sixmilebridge area at about 7.50 pm on Thursday night.
While the a son-in-law of the gardener, who came on the scene received facial injuries during a subsequent struggle, no one was shot or seriously injured during the incident.
As Clare gardaí conduct a full investigation into this very serious alleged shotgun incident, they are trying to establish a motive and why the man chose this particular location for this attempted break-in.
The elderly gardener was preparing to go home when he was confronted by a gunman wearing a balaclava shortly after 5 pm.
It is alleged that the gunman, who was looking for money, requested access to the house but was refused by the gardener, who told him he didn’t have any keys and was waiting for someone to come and collect him.
Concerned about the fact the gardener still hadn’t returned home over two hours after his expected return, his daughter and son-in-law drove to this house to collect him.
When the son-in-law went to enter the house he was also allegedly held at gunpoint. During a subsequent struggle between the gunman and the son-in-law, the gun was discharged but no one was shot.
The son-in-law, who received relatively minor facial injuries by the butt of the gun during the struggle was hospitalised. It was expected that he will be discharged from hospital on Friday.
The gunman was then restrained by the gardener and his son-in-law while his daughter managed to get a phone and ring the emergency services. Up to ten Gardai arrived on the scene within minutes in garda cars and they were quickly joined by more gardaí and members of the armed regional response unit.
The gunman was arrested by members of the regional response unit and was taken to Shannon Garda Station, where he is being held in custody.
Councillor Alan O’Callaghan described the incident as a “terrifying ordeal” for the three people who were involved and expressed concern that it would leave other elderly people in the locality living in fear.
The Fianna Fáil councillor said there has been a number of break-ins in the area and pledged to raise the resources being allocated to gardaí at the next joint policing committee.
By Dan Danaher