Tommy Kelliher was standing at the rear of the post office run by his parents in Newcastle West when he was confronted by an armed and masked man at 8.30am.
It’s understood the young barber was keeping an eye on the business run by his parents Geraldine and Tom Kelliher while they were on holidays.
He was kidnapped before he opened up his own barber shop, which is located near by.
A woman who was working in the post office was contacted several hours later and told to take an undisclosed sum of money to a wooded area between Caraigkerry and Athea in Co Limerick.
According to gardaí, this instruction was complied with “under duress” sometime between 11am and noon yesterday.
At 4pm Mr Kelliher was discovered in the boot of his car, a black BMW registration number, 09-LK, in the Templegreen housing estate in Newcastle West.
The 24-year-old was uninjured but “extremely traumatised” by his ordeal.
The post office remained closed yesterday afternoon, with a sign on the door blaming “computer problems”.
Locals who attempted to post letters were told by gardaí that the area was being treated as a crime scene.
An incident room has been set up at Newcastle West Garda Station.
The car and the post office are crime scenes and will be subject to technical examination, according to a Garda spokesperson.
Newcastle West gardaí are carrying out enquiries, and have asked anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the Newcastle West, Carrigkerry and Athea/ Templegreen areas to contact 069 20650.
They have also appealed to anyone who may have seen the black BMW car between 8am and 4pm to make contact with their local Garda station.
The Garda spokesperson added: “Both male and female persons involved in this incident were uninjured, however they have been through a traumatic experience and while we appreciate any assistance that media can give us in appealing for information on this crime, we would ask that they respect the privacy of the individuals involved as far as possible.”
Local TD Patrick O’Donovan last night appealed to locals to help gardaí with their inquiry.
He said the Kelliher family are highly respected in the local community and have been associated with the post office in the town for many years.
“I’m sure the community will rally around them,” he said.
“There’s also a major responsibility on the local community to come forward with any information they may have that will help gardaí with their inquiries.
This kind of thing needs to be dug out of communities,” he added.