The suspect and another man — a known crack cocaine addict — threatened to kill the couple’s two-week-old baby and their two-year-old son.
Phuong Nguyen pounced on one of the burglars and fought with him as he tried to flee the house with cash. The struggle ended in his mother’s house next door when Mr Nguyen grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed the burglar a number of times in the leg.
Gardaí arrested the burglar on arrival and were last night still awaiting to interview him at Beaumont Hospital.
Detectives hope to interview him as early as today and, if not, in the coming days.
A Garda search is under way for the second burglar and there may be developments in the coming days.
Mr Nguyen and his Irish partner Jenny O’Leary were recovering from the trauma at their home in Clare Hall, north Dublin, yesterday.
Ms O’Leary, who has three children with her partner, said she was confronted by two men in the downstairs of their home on Temple View Road at about 3.30am. “One had a hammer and a knife and [the] other guy had [a] few things in his jacket — a knife, a hammer and a spanner and a crowbar.”
She said she had her two-week-old baby Jake in her hands.
“There was a stage where they told me to give them the baby and I was crying, pleading with them. I just had to do what they said or they told me they would kill the baby. He just put him in the pram,” said Ms O’Leary speaking on RTÉ Radio.
The burglars dragged her upstairs and went into Mr Nguyen’s room who was sleeping with Josh, aged two, and Paige, aged seven.
“I felt a whack with a hammer,” said Mr Nguyen. “I opened my eyes and saw two guys, one with [a] hammer, one holding Jenny with a knife against her throat. I started screaming, They kept hitting me, saying ‘open the safe, open the safe’.
“The guy who had Jenny let her go and grabbed Josh by the arm. He put the knife up against Josh’s throat. He told me, ‘open the safe or I’ll kill him’.”
He said when he opened the safe he dropped cash on the ground and then “pounced” on the guy with the hammer. He said there was a running violent struggle with one of the burglars through the house and out the kitchen.
He said the burglar was swinging his knife and that he grabbed a knife in the kitchen and stabbed him in the leg.
Mr Nguyen said he did not chase the burglar as such and that “it all happened in just one act”.
He said: “I was just fearing for the lives of my family, it was all one big fight.
“All this time he had a knife. If I didn’t defend myself and fight back he would have stabbed me, or stabbed Tia [his sister] or Jenny.”
Ms O’Leary said: “He would have killed us.”
She said Paige was now going to see a counsellor: “She’s a very quiet little girl, very soft, so it’s going to be very hard for her.”