The victim needs plastic surgery to repair a 4in hole above her ankle. The incident has been linked by local politicians, and the golf club’s lady captain, to a campaign of intimidation, which has escalated since May 2.
Trish Costello, the lady captain, wrote to Limerick Council, which owns the public course, pleading for protection from a local gang.
“On Thursday, May 10, at 6.15pm, three Rathbane ladies were on the fourth fairway, when two young boys drove down towards them on a dune buggy. They drove directly into one of the ladies, at great speed, hitting her on the left leg and throwing her into the air. With the force of the impact, it spun the dune buggy around, with one of the boys falling off. He got back up on the buggy and they drove back out on the main road, through the main gates.”
Ms Costello warns that a local gang has been intimidating the club members.
Fianna Fáil general election candidate Cllr James Collins said: “This intimidation started with the gang letting wild horses loose on the course. It escalated to quads being driven through the public entrance and then horses being ridden across the course. Now, we have a woman who is out playing golf, at teatime, when she is mown down on the fourth fairway, by out-of-control children driving a quad. Her leg was broken.
“It sounds like a made-up scene from The Sopranos. But this was real life.”
He added: “Saying her leg was broken doesn’t do justice to what happened her. Her leg was broken in four places; the bone exited her skin. She needs plastic surgery and faces a long recuperation. That was in the second week of May. She was not the first victim of this intimidation. A week prior to this, a group of visiting lady golfers, from Newcastle West Golf Club, were confronted by wild horses being ridden towards them on the 18th green.”
The lady captain’s letter to Limerick Council also describes this earlier incident.
Cllr Collins and Cllr Jerry O’Dea met with club members to discuss the intimidation. Cllr Collins has called for immediate security measures to be taken by Limerick Council, which owns the public course: “Rathbane Golf Club has to be protected from a gang, which has been intimidating club members for weeks. We need CCTV cameras along the Bawnmore Road and electronic gates with pincode access for the golf club.”
“When an ambulance was called to help this poor woman with a broken leg, two paramedics had to make their way to the fourth fairway on foot. The lady was taken back to the waiting ambulance in a van belonged to the club. When they returned, a tyre was flat on the ambulance. This is the type of intimidation they are dealing with.”
Seamus Hanrahan, executive architect with Limerick City and County Council, confirmed, in a letter to councillors, that the council would consider installing extra security measures, including CCTV. He said the council was liaising with the gardaí and with the golf club.