Hero hostage overpowered gunman after 2-hour ordeal
A YOUNG man overpowered a shotgun-wielding individual who was holding him, his girlfriend and her father hostage in a small rural village.
The gun was fired during the struggle at the end of an ordeal that lasted almost two hours, but no one was hurt.
The 29-year-old was last night hailed as a hero whose "split-second decision" to take action led to the hostage taker's arrest.
Local councillor Alan O'Callaghan - who knows the family - said the drama began when a man in his 70s was working as a handyman on a country house near Sixmilebridge in Co Clare.
He was approached by the suspect - a man in his 50s from Co Kerry - who was armed with a shotgun.
"He was cutting the hedge back and he heard a voice say 'Don't move' and he looked around and he saw a man wearing a balaclava pointing a gun at him," Mr O'Callaghan said.
The armed man could not gain access to the home and held the handyman at gunpoint for almost two hours outside the house. Meanwhile, the owner of the property was unaware of what was going on in his garden.
The councillor said his friend "pleaded with the gunman, that he had nothing and couldn't help him".
"When my friend didn't return home for dinner at 5pm, his wife got worried and sent up the daughter and her boyfriend to the property."
However, when they arrived the gunman also took them hostage after telling them to hand over their phones and wallets.
Mr O'Callaghan said that the decision by the young man "to make a dash and overpower" the gunman "was very brave".
"The boyfriend had a split-second decision to make. He is a big strong man and was able to use his strength.
"The father is a very quiet, gentle man, but he told me that he got the power from somewhere to help restrain the gunman.
"There was a few seconds of panic when the gun went off but, thankfully, no one was injured," he added.
After the struggle, the 27-year-old daughter rang gardai and the three held the man until they arrived.
Mr O'Callaghan said his friend "didn't sleep a wink last night", but was glad no-one was injured.
The suspect was subsequently arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the Person Act and brought to Shannon Garda Station where he remained under questioning last night. No charges have yet been made.