Criminals are being aided by the motorway network as they feed on the fear in rural Ireland, according to the sister of a farmer who was assaulted during a burglary last weekend.

A farmer in his 50s, named locally as Richard McKelvey, was brutally attacked and locked in a shed after four men unlawfully entered his home at approximately 2:00am on Saturday morning, November 4.

It was only when the farmer managed to escape from the shed that the alarm was raised. McKelvey was admitted to hospital with no life-threatening injuries and he is believed to have been discharged yesterday evening (November 6).

However, this is not the first time that the farmer – who lives alone in the house he grew up in – was targeted by criminals. Under two months ago, the house was also broken into and jewellery belonging to the farmer’s mother was taken.

This time the four criminals are alleged to have made off with a small sum of cash.

Speaking to RTE News, Annette Meacle – a sister of the farmer who was assaulted – explained that the motorways are aiding criminals as they terrorise people in rural Ireland.

“Sure what the hell, put a few cameras on the exits of the motorways. At least then you could pick up these people. They’re coming off the big motorways at the exits and they are travelling through the country at night.

The world suddenly seems to come alive in the dark in rural Ireland. Because it’s fear; it’s fear; and they know the fear is out there.

Meacle also added that An Garda Siochana needs to be better resourced to deal with the growing problem.

“First of all resource the Gardai. Resource them, resource them full stop. Because rural Ireland is the back bone of urban Ireland, without question. Resource them – put the local community guards back in; back in to the community; back in to the Garda Stations.

“Give them a presence so that they know the local knowledge and they know the people,” she said.


Meanwhile, local Renua councillor John Leahy believes the consequences are not severe enough for criminals who carry out burglaries or assaults such as this when they come before a judge.

Speaking to Midlands 103, Leahy said: “The courts system needs to change radically. We have often seen repeat offenders come in and maybe get a suspended sentence – they might only get four or five months and they are let out.

“The excuse is there is not enough room in the jails. If the penalty was severe enough, I believe this would be a deterrent for the likes of the crimes that we are seeing now that are escalating in rural Ireland.”

Leahy believes there is no valid excuse for continuing to let hardened criminals commit crime without proper sanctions.