GARDAÍ in Waterford are seeking two teenage girls they believe may be vital witnesses to an assault which has left an 82-year-old man fighting for his life.
Last night the two young women had yet to come forward to help the investigation.
Paddy Barry was violently assaulted in his Mount Sion Avenue home last Wednesday.
The intruders forced in the door of Mr Barry’s home before assaulting him. He suffered bleeding on the brain, a broken arm and facial injuries in the attack.
The victim remains in a critical condition inWaterford Regional Hospital.
His case has been highlighted by his grandson, TV magician Keith Barry, who has called on Justice Minster Dermot Ahern to introduce emergency legislation to protect homeowners against intruders.
Mr Barry told a Sunday newspaper: “I had a response from Dermot Ahern saying, ‘Oh, we are addressing this and before Christmas we’ll have something in place’. I find that an absolute insult. How many more pensioners are going to get robbed, terrorised, beaten, possibly murdered, before Christmas?
“When it suits him they can bring emergency legislation in. I think it’s time for the whole country to stand up against these guys and say enough is enough. We need to feel safe in our own homes.”
Fine Gael Justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan said he supported Mr Barry’s demands.
“The nationwide response to the plight of Keith Barry’s grandfather is proof positive that homeowners want greater rights. Minister Ahern claims he will have new laws in place in the new year. That’s exactly what his predecessor Michael McDowell said four years ago.”
He added: “The public clearly will not wait any longer. The Fine Gael Home Defence Bill could be law by Hallowe’en with government backing. I am willing to sit down with Minister Ahern immediately to discuss this urgent and important issue.”
Gardaí in Waterford have arrested one man in connection with the attack. A Garda spokesperson said: “A man is still in custody in relation to the crime, and no further arrests have been made.
“He will continue to be detained under Section 4 until he is released or charged.”
Gardaí have requested that anyone who had been in contact with the elderly victim in the days leading up to the assault contact Waterford Garda Station on 051-305300 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111.
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