GARDAI are under enormous pressure today to act on crimes against the elderly.
The calls came following a shocking attack in which two brothers in their 80s were held at gunpoint and terrorised in their own home. Armed and masked raiders roughed up the pensioners before ransacking the house and making off with cash.
It’s the latest in a series of attacks on vulnerable old people which have caused outrage. Owen (82) and Michael Kelly (80) were held prisoner for three hours in the ordeal.
Despite the violence used, the raiders, who were believed to be carrying a knife and a firearm, left with just a small amount of cash.
Garda Inspector Ernie White said: "They are not well, particularly when you consider their age."
An elderly neighbour broke down in tears as he spoke of how upset the entire community was.
The incident was the second violent raid on vulnerable pensioners in a little over a week.
A 74-year-old man and his two sisters, aged 72 and 66, were tied up and beaten in a similar robbery in Co Limerick on May 31. The incidents are not thought to be linked.
The most recent raid began at Ballyroe, Williamstown, Co Galway, at 11pm on Thursday.
It is believed the culprits spent a number of hours in the house leaving at approximately 2.30am yesterday. During the ordeal, the elderly men were tied up and threatened. The brothers eventually managed to free themselves and alert the gardai.
Their friend Sean Mulryan, breaking down in tears at the scene, said: "You keep the house locked and you think of all these things coming around. We're near neighbours, I'm very upset."
Fianna Fail justice spokesman Dara Calleary condemned the attacks and said Justice Minister Alan Shatter is "not showing a particular interest" in ensuring older people are protected.
"I would be really concerned about it (the latest incident), particularly coming in the same week as the attack in Limerick," Mr Calleary told the Herald.
He said: "I think it's incumbent on the Government to ensure older people are protected and they're not showing a lot of interest and the minister is not showing a particular interest in it in my opinion," he added.
The Mayo TD said he had already been expressing concerns about the €79m Mr Shatter has taken out of the garda budget this year but was accused by the minister of exaggerating the issue.
Gardai said that the elderly brothers received minor injuries and received medical attention locally. "They are very shocked. They are shook up. They were roughed up and they have some bruising on them," Inspector Ernie White added.
Gardai are asking the public for help in the case that has shocked the close-knit community.
"It's a quiet place. It's a rural place and we are not used to any incident of this type, and the whole area is extremely shocked," said neighbour Leo Finnigan.
One culprit was described as being approximately 5ft 5ins and of medium build, while the second was taller, of medium build.
Both men were wearing balaclavas with dark clothes and runners.
Gardai are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed anything unusual, or has any information concerning the incident, to contact Tuam Garda Station.