Neighbours' horror as Bridie (72) is stabbed at home in broad daylight
Gardai believe the stabbing of an innocent pensioner on her own front doorstep may be connected to an ongoing local feud.
Bridie Smith (72), of Ballyfermot, was repeatedly stabbed in the chest and upper body shortly after 9.30am yesterday.
Gardai are hunting for two men who were seen running from the scene of the attack in Oranmore Road moments after the horrific incident.
Officers are following a number of lines of investigation and have appealed for witnesses.
There is nothing to suggest that robbery was a motive.
One of Mrs Smith's sons was in the house at the time of the attack and called the emergency services.
The mother was rushed to Saint James's Hospital where her condition is said to be critical.
It is still not known if she was the intended target of the attack.
One of the lines of inquiry is the possibility that the stabbing was connected to an ongoing feud in the area.
Another elderly woman was previously attacked in a violent incident and a number of people have appeared in court.
Mrs Smith has been living in the area for several decades.
Her home was sealed off as a garda forensic team carried out an examination of the scene. They removed a handle from the front door and took it away for closer examination.
Residents in the Oranmore Road area expressed sadness at the vicious stabbing of their elderly neighbour.
"I'm terribly shocked," said a 38-year-old mother-of-five. "The guards came to my door asking if I saw anything but I hadn't. I'm just hoping she'll make a full recovery. She was the same age as my mam.
"Another old woman was attacked down the road around a year ago."
Neighbour Seamus Pender (59) said: "We are all very shocked. The family have been living here a very long time. The first I heard about it was when the guards came to the door asking if anyone had seen anything."
A 72-year-old Ballyfermot woman said: "It's an awful thing to happen on New Year's Day. I'll be saying a prayer for her."
Local councillor Daithi Doolan said: "We need to reach out and look after our elderly and vulnerable neighbours.
"Let's not let fear stalk the streets of Ballyfermot. Anybody with information should contact the gardai no matter how small insignificant they think it is. It could be an essential missing piece of the jigsaw.
"This is a quiet community. The neighbours are in shock and they are in fear. They didn't expect to be opening their doors on January 1 to be greeted by this awful news that their elderly neighbour was stabbed right on her doorstep," said the Sinn Fein councillor.
"Those involved should be brought to justice and face the full rigours of the law.
"I would make an appeal that gardai receive the support and the resources they need to properly investigate the crime and bring the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice.
"Neighbours are in shock and are numbed by it all," he said.
People Before Profit Alliance Cllr Hazel De Nortuin and Independent Cllr Vincent Jackson also strongly condemned the attack.
Local priest Fr Con Kenneally said prayers were being said for the recovery of the victim.
Investigating gardai are appealing for anyone with information to contact Ballyfermot Garda Station on 01 666 7200, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.