TV star condemns Government after grandfather beaten

IRISH magician Keith Barry has denounced the Government for failing to strengthen the crime laws after his elderly grandfather was beaten unconscious in a violent robbery at the family home.

The 82-year-old grandfather of the TV star was fighting for his life after the violent assault in his Waterford home.

It is feared he may have suffered brain damage.

Mr Barry’s demand for a hardening of crime laws to deter attacks on the elderly fell on deaf ears earlier this week when Government TDs voted down Opposition proposals to allow homeowners use force to protect their properties.

The illusionist described how his elderly relative Paddy Barry was savagely beaten while drinking a can of beer in his modest home on Wednesday night. The attack happened at 9.40pm on Mount Sion Avenue on the north side of the city.

“He was broken into through his front door and he was beaten up in his own house that to such an extent that he’s now in hospital in Waterford and he’s fighting for his life,” said Mr Barry.

“He’s in an unresponsive state. As of this morning [Friday], he’s still unresponsive. He’s got bad bleeding on the brain so I suppose it’s as severe as you can get.”

The family appealed to witnesses in the Mount Sion Avenue and Ballybricken areas who saw anything suspicious to come forward.

“It’s an old part of town, my granddad has lived there for in excess of 60 years of his life. It’s a very quiet part of town.”

The elderly in the Waterford area had been fearful of such an attack taking place, the magician told RTÉ.

“They’re all petrified around there, all the pensioners simply in fear of something like this happening.”

Mr Barry wants three-year mandatory sentences for thieves or would-be attackers who enter the homes of people aged 65 or over.

He was annoyed that government TDs had voted down a Fine Gael bill this week which gave people increased right to protect homes with force.

“These thugs have no fear of the law, of the justice system and they’ve no fear of us in our own homes because as of yesterday, the Government turned down the right to protect yourself in your own home without prosecution. So these guys are laughing in the face of the law.

“How many pensioners are going to get beaten up and possibly killed before the Government actually does something.”

Gardaí have arrested a man and were still questioning him in connection with the assault last night.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern says he is expecting advice from the Law Reform Commission on the right of legitimate defence and the issue of intruders in homes in the next six weeks. A draft bill on the issue will also be handed to the minister which he would consider, his spokesman explained.

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