Hotel owners back to work after being held at gunpoint

A COUPLE who were held at gunpoint by raiders who broke into their hotel were back at work yesterday, adamant not to let the ordeal get to them.

Edwina Foyle woke at 5am yesterday, sensing someone was in her bedroom.

Two men, one armed with a gun, another with a baseball bat, threatened her and ordered her to open the hotel safe, her son Clifden Foyle revealed yesterday.

The gang had struck earlier, stealing keys to The Strand Inn Hotel in Dunmore East, Co Waterford, robbing a mobile phone and taking all the knives out of the drawers in the kitchen of the couple’s home, in case they tried to defend themselves or raise the alarm.

“Mum woke when she felt something in the room. She looked up and saw two guys in their 20s. They were looking around the room. One of them put the gun to her head and said he’d use it if she didn’t hand over the keys to the safe.

“She told them that I had the keys and wasn’t in the house. Their house is just behind the hotel. They then woke my dad, Mike, and when he tried to get out of bed, they threatened to shoot him if he didn’t lie down.

“They didn’t get the keys to the safe but they made off with a few days’ takings. Mum and Dad are shaken, but they’re fine. They were not hurt in any way,” Clifden explained.

The early morning raid had been carefully planned, he added.

“They had come in beforehand, at around 7pm. They took the back door keys and it was through this door they got in. One had a gun, the other a bat.

“The golf club just up the road was done the previous night. When they took the keys, they also took all the knives out of the drawers downstairs and they also took mum’s phone. They then came back at 5am. There were definitely three of them, maybe more.”

Mike Foyle, who is 76, has been in business for 35 years, as has Edwina Foyle, who is in her mid-50s. “The whole ordeal took about 10 minutes. They took the takings for the past few days but it could have been lot worse,” Clifden said.

“Both my parents are quite strong and, in a way, they would accept that this is part of what is happening around the country. The irony of the whole thing is that we were just yesterday evening talking about putting in a new security system in the hotel.”

Sgt John McDonald, who is heading up the investigation, said gardai are anxious to speak to anyone who saw anything suspicious in or around the hotel to come forward.

“We believe some form of transport was used. A vehicle was heard leaving the lower village at speed, heading up towards the Church, out of Dunmore East.

“If anyone, no matter how insignificant they believe the information to be, saw anything, we would urge them to contact us,” Sgt McDonald said.

Gardaí can be contacted at (051) 305300.

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