Brave Una (93) backs behind the counter while Gardaí step up the hunt for a ruthless gang of burglars

Gardaí believe a gang holding an elderly woman, 93, and her two sons hostage in a violent home invasion drove to the area to attack the family.

he Irish Independent A prominent line in the Garda investigation has learned the suspects are not from the Co Roscommon area.

Gardaí have not yet made any arrests or identified the gang members in connection with the aggravated burglary.

However, they believe the gang used the freeway network to travel to the rural area and target this family.

An investigation is being carried out by detectives at Castlerea Garda train station, who are continuing to seek information on the case.

“So far, there is nothing to indicate that this crime was a local task. The main belief is that this gang traveled to Ballintober to target this older business family,” a senior source said.

“The gang’s modus operandi and the considerable amount of time the gang spent at the property Monday morning suggests they were an organized gang, not from Co Roscommon or even neighboring counties, so they may be off the road network.” used to travel to the west of Ireland,” the source added.

It comes as Una Farrell, the 93-year-old woman at the center of the burglary, told how she was locked in a room while the masked men tied up her two sons, aged in their 60s, and ransacked their home, the family shop.

The four men escaped with a small sum of money in the early hours of Monday morning, leaving the Farrells deeply traumatized.

Una and her family have served the community of Ballintober, Co Roscommon from their small local business on the outskirts of town for the past 61 years.

And yesterday, determined not to let “those four thugs” get her down, Una reopened the family store.

Smiling, calm and fearless, Una told dem Irish Independent She was keen to show her best side and that the four men weren’t going to win.

“They got what they came for and now they’re gone and I’m still here,” she said. “They will not defeat us.

“We opened this morning and hope people will come back to us now. We’ve been here for 61 years and we’ll be here for a long time to come.”

Una said she couldn’t understand why one person would break into another’s house, terrorize them and wreak havoc.

“I don’t know. What can you say about people like that?” She said. “That was four thugs. They are traumatizing people. They took the phones off the wall, but my sons still have their phones.

“We’re okay, considering, and we’ll be okay. We must now continue with this. We have to keep the doors open.”

Una believes the attackers were watching the premises before breaking in.

“You must be keeping an eye on the location,” she said. “I don’t know what people do. They got what they came for but we will carry on.”

Councilor Anthony Waldron said a tougher sentence was needed to deter burglary gangs.

“You are not afraid. They don’t care what harm they do to people,” he said.

“You could have a list of convictions as long as your arm and then they’re free as birds to fly.

“They have no respect for society and more needs to be done to phase these people out.

“When we had local Garda stations, the Gardaí knew what was going on in areas like Ballintober.

“Everyone is angry that this happened to the Farrell family. You are the heart of the community here.

“People love this store – they sell everything from needles to anchors. They open early in the morning and close late at night.

“In the past, entire families survived with a book behind the counter. They have rendered great services to generations. They are hardworking people who are highly respected in this community.

“The people who did this must be brought to justice. Someone must have seen something unusual. We don’t want this to become just another statistic.

“We want real action to be taken and we want lawmakers to get serious.”

Local councilor Fianna Fáil, Paschal Fitzmaurice, said it was a “heinous crime” that had disgusted the local community.

“These people were attacked in their house and these burglars came in to extort money out of them and whatever in their business premises,” he said. “People are shocked and saddened by what happened.”

Mr Fitzmaurice said the local community was scared after the incident. Brave Una (93) backs behind the counter while Gardaí step up the hunt for a ruthless gang of burglars

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