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Garda blasts "cowardly" attack on 96 year old 07.01.13

A SENIOR garda has described as "cowardly" the masked men who punched and robbed a 96 year old woman as she slept in her bed at the weekend.
Garda Inspector David Murphy said local officers were determined to trace the burglars who broke into the widow's home at Aghilly, Buncrana, shortly before 12.30am on Saturday.
The thieves, wearing dark clothes, entered her home through a kitchen window. They went to her bedroom and demanded money before ransacking the place and making off with a handbag, bank cards and a sum of cash.
The victim, who is described as independent and "youthful for her years" managed to activate her panic alarm to alert neighbours and gardai after the attack. She was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital for observation.
"This was a shocking incident that terrified an elderly woman. We would appeal to the general public in Buncrana to pick up the phone and contact us if they have any information at all, no matter how small, in relation to this cowardly act," said Inspector Murphy.
"Two people were seen walking away from the area after this incident so if there was a getaway car it could have been parked a distance away. If anyone saw a vehicle parked in an unusual place or saw any other suspicious activity, we would like to hear from them," he added.
There are local reports that an unfamiliar vehicle was seen possibly surveying the area in the days prior to the attack. Inspector Murphy said all eyewitness information would be followed up while door-to-door inquiries are continuing as part of the investigation.
Meanwhile, local representatives yesterday claimed that vulnerable people were "at the mercy" of brutal criminals due to the Government's "slash and burn" of garda resources.
Donegal Fianna Fáil local representatives, Deputy Charlie McConalogue and Cllr Rena Donaghey rounded on the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter.
"Many communities in Donegal have been left exposed by cuts to garda stations, patrol cars and garda personnel last year," said Deputy McConalogue.
"As if this wasn’t enough, we learned over the weekend that the Minister also wants to cut an extra 1,000 garda personnel this year, bringing the garda force to its lowest level in a decade," he said.
Cllr Donaghey, who lives a short distance from the victim, added: "Local gardaí are doing the best they can but they are very thin on the ground and they are working with very limited resources. Now the Minister has said that there are going to be further major cuts in 2013.
"This is giving a green light to criminals and is leaving people at the mercy of robbers who target vulnerable, elderly people in rural areas."
Cllr Donaghey said the people of Buncrana were "horrified and gutted" at the attack on the 96 year old.
"This will have been very traumatic for her and there is no doubt that it will knock the confidence she has for a woman of her age.
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