AN innocent man suffered appalling stab wounds after being attacked by a gang wielding knives, meat cleavers, garden shears, and an open barber’s blade.
The 44-year-old, who gardaí believe was in the wrong place at the wrong time, was slashed about the head, face, neck and upper body during the brutal attack in a Cork town on Thursday night.
Gardaí said he was not the gang’s intended target and is lucky to be alive.
He was found lying in a pool of blood on a footpath in Innishmore Drive in the Innishmore estate on the west side of Ballincollig at about 10.30pm.
He was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where he underwent several hours of emergency surgery.
He was in a critical but stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit last night. His traumatised partner is at his bedside.
Gardaí are waiting for his condition to improve before interviewing him but they are satisfied that he is an innocent victim. They are following several lines of enquiry about why the gang was in the estate.
Locals also reported a minor altercation outside a local pub at around 9pm that may be linked to the attack.
A dark-coloured car carrying up to five men arrived in Innishmore sometime around 10pm. They went to a house looking for a particular individual who was not at home at the time.
Neighbours reported hearing shouting and roaring some time later and some dialled 999.
It is not clear whether this was a case of mistaken identity, or whether words were exchanged, but the gang launched the attack within minutes. Local uniformed Garda units in Ballincollig and detective branch units from Gurranabraher rushed to the scene but the gang had escaped.
Superintendent Con Cadogan appealed for witnesses, particularly anyone who saw what happened in the lead-up to the attack between 8.45pm and 9.15pm.
He also urged anyone who saw the car entering or leaving the estate to contact gardaí at Ballincollig on 021-4871222.
The Mayor of Cork County, Ballincollig-based Cllr Derry Canty, visited shocked residents yesterday and condemned the attack.
He had been in the estate just hours before for celebrations marking the local family centre’s 25th anniversary.
“People are totally taken aback by this attack and we are very upset about it,” he said.
Ballincollig-based Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe, who also attended the resource centre celebrations, said efforts to build a new Garda station in the town have advanced.
A pre-qualification notice will appear on the Government’s etenders website next week seeking expressions of interest from building contractors, he said. The Office of Public Works will then compile a shortlist and ask them to tender formally for the project.
Despite pressure on Exchequer resources, the minister said he will press his government colleagues, including Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, to get the new station built.
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