Post Office and nearby shop targeted by gang
HAMMEL'S Centra Supermarket in Kilmuckridge and the adjoining Post Office last Thursday morning became the victims of the second raid in the village in the space of three days.
Up to 20 shoppers and staff were ordered to get down on the floor as the raiders rifled the tills in the shop and post office. Another raider is believed to have been waiting in a getaway vehicle.
The gang arrived at around 10.15 a.m. and first burst into the busy shop. They stayed for a matter of minutes getting their hands on whatever cash they could.
After grabbing cash from the shop tills they went through the entryway to the Post Office. There were three or four customers in the Post Office, and Postmistress Emily Murphy (nee Hammel) feared for their safety. A sum of cash was taken from the till, but the men did not get access to the safe.
This was the third time in the past five years that Kilmuckridge Post Office has been robbed, and Emily Murphy has experienced all three.
The staff and customers were left very shaken after their ordeal. One of the shop staff was 'manhandled and pushed' during the robbery, but no-one was hurt. One of the raiders was said to be particularly aggressive.
Locals said they were angry and upset that this was the second robbery in the village in the space of three days, and the third such incident in the general area in the same space of time.
The previous Tuesday, the night porter at Seán Óg's Hotel in Kilmuckridge was tied up and beaten in a night time raid, and Oulart Post Office was later held up, with the postmistress and her son receiving gunshot wounds.
Gardai were quickly on the scene at Hammels last Thursday, and were praised for their swift response. The Garda helicopter was called in to assist. A blue Audi, suspected to have been used in the raid, was found abandoned at the nearby Beechbrook Estate.
Meanwhile across the road at Coláiste an Átha, Leaving Cert students were taking their Engineering exam. Student Stephen Fortune said they could hear the commotion going on for ten to twenty minutes.
Principal Elizabeth Martin said the students didn't raise the issue afterwards, but that the Superintendent and staff did take a note of what had happened. ' The students didn't bring it up or say they had been overly disturbed,' she said. 'The Superintendent said they got on with their work. The Gardai did call across to the school, and we took a note and will keep a report on it. Luckily it happened before any students were out of the exam. If they were across in the shop and were involved in the situation it would have been a lot more serious for us.'
She said that local people have been very shocked at the two serious incidents in the village in a short space of time.