Belfast Telegraph

Garda attacked by kidnap bid gang

Detectives are hunting an armed gang who attacked a garda after he foiled a tiger kidnapping.

The officer was beaten with shovels and bars after he confronted the four masked men at a post office in Cloonfad on the Mayo/Roscommon border.

The four raiders had entered a private house adjoining the post office at about 11pm last night and tied up the retired post master. He was named locally as Padraig McCormack, who is in his 70s.

The shocked bachelor was bundled into a car and taken to the home of the new postmistress, Geraldine Finnegan, in nearby Williamstown, east Galway.

Ms Finnegan and her elderly parents were abducted and taken back to the first house where all four were imprisoned over night. The alarm was raised when Ms Finnegan's brother found the family home empty.

A Garda spokesman said a local garda travelled to the post office at about 8am, where he confronted the four suspects and was attacked with shovels and bars.

"The Garda received minor injuries and no other person was physically injured during the incident," he added. The men fled with no money in a green Volkswagen hatchback car with an 06-Mayo registration number.

Councillor Michael McGreal said those targeted were gentle people.

"Cloonfad is the most peaceful place and has the most law abiding communities in Ireland," he said. "For this to have visited them is a terrible tragedy and disappointment. The people who were hijacked are among the most gentle people you could meet in this country and it's not good enough thugs like that are roaming around the land. This is a terrible attack on people who are providing services in a rural community."

There have been two so-called tiger kidnappings this year and five last year. An Post executive Liam O'Sullivan, his wife Mary and two children, were held up by at least four armed raiders in their Co Kildare home on Monday night.

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