JEWELLERY worth €70,000 has been stolen at the home of one of Ireland's leading charity campaigners.
Norma Smurfit was not at her home in the Mount Merrion area of south Dublin when the raiders struck at 9.30 last night.
The house was unoccupied when neighbours heard an alarm at the property going off.
When they went to investigate, they noticed the break-in at the home.
It is understood that witnesses later reported seeing four men who were wearing baseball hats acting suspiciously on St Thomas Road in Mount Merrion at the time of the burglary.
It is understood that the house was ransacked and the large haul of jewellery was stolen.
Officers from Blackrock Garda Station are now investigating the burglary.
The Herald has learned that the raiders took only jewellery during the raid, and gardai are working on the theory that it was a targeted and well-planned criminal enterprise.
When contacted today, Ms Smurfit did not wish to comment on the burglary.
Ms Smurfit who is the former wife of businessman Michael Smurfit, has been involved in charity work for many years.
Originally from London, she has helped raise millions of euro for various Irish charities including the Irish Famine Fund as well as raising money to buy mini-buses for the blind and the Central Remedial Clinic.
She also set up the Irish Youth Foundation, the Irish Arthritis Foundation, and First Step which funded young entrepreneurs who do not have the equity to secure a bank loan.
Highly respected, Ms Smurfit has also been an avid collector of Irish art.
Last night's burglary at her home, is just the latest in the south Dublin area as the burglary crime epidemic continues across the country.
Last March, the Herald revealed that a gang of professional burglars had stolen over €500k in cash, jewellery and other valuables in heists in the nearby D4 embassy belt.
Targeting the homes of wealthy business people, the robbers carried out a number of meticulously planned raids around Ailesbury Road and Nutley Avenue in recent weeks.
The well-organised gang has been targeting houses in Ballsbridge and Donnybrook areas and locals have called for more garda patrols.
It is not known if the same gang were responsible for last night's raid.
According to the latest figures published by the Central Statistics Office, there were 26,430 burglary and related offences for the year ending June 30.