Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod


Drink and rob

Shameless thieves offered a terrified pensioner a glass of his own whiskey to calm his nerves as they tried to rob his home in west Sligo.

The robbers also asked the elderly man if he had a gun in his house within minutes of breaking into the two-story house.

The man had only been in bed for a few minutes when he heard the sound of glass breaking in a downstairs window. Two men in balaclavas raced up the stairs. One them sat on the man’s bed while the other one ransacked the house.

The thieves spent about an hour in the Skreen house before saying farewell to the pensioner, who is in his 80s, and addressing him by name.

They cut the telephone wires before telling the man not to contact anyone until dawn. The incident is the latest in over a dozen attempted break-ins and robberies in the west Sligo area over the past nine weeks.

A resident said, “It’s getting like the Wild West out here with all these traveling cowboys robbing old people, stealing liquor from pubs and raising hell, and we have only one sheriff.”

The latest incident comes as the sergeant in Skreen has been transferred, leaving one Garda (police officer) to serving a population of 3,000.

Residents are now demanding an urgent meeting with Gardai in Ballymote or Sligo as local independent Councilor Michael Clarke called for west Sligo to be returned to the Ballina Gardai.

“We are trapped between the mountains and the sea and are so isolated and vulnerable, and I have had several complaints from constituents. The Gardai should reverse the decision to take west Sligo away from Ballina,” said Clarke.

Sligo Weekender
Old Age Abuser

A PENSIONER whose first conviction for a sex offense was in July 1960 when he was fined £2 at Plymouth Magistrate's Court for indecent exposure was placed on probation for three years and put on the sex offenders register for seven years at the crown court in Derry when he admitted three charges of gross indecency with a young girl.

William John Roddy, 71, from Queen Street in Derry, committed the offenses over a three-year period starting in August 2005 when the girl was aged 12. Judge Desmond Marrinan described Roddy's behavior as "bizarre, fanciful and repugnant."

Marrinan was told that Roddy exposed his buttocks to the girl and simulated sex with a naked doll in front of her. There was no physical contact between him and the girl when the offenses occurred in Roddy's bedroom where pornographic photographs were displayed on the walls.

Defense counsel Ken McMahon said Roddy starting his offending after he'd inherited £31,000.  He gave all of the money to young girls, including the victim.

McMahon said that, a year after the offending started, Roddy withdrew from a medical program designed to reduce his sexual urges "because he felt he was being offered chemical castration. He is now on treatment to reduce his libido."

Sentencing Roddy, Marrinan said he took into consideration Roddy's mental and physical wellbeing as well as the fact that, by his admissions, he had spared the teenage girl the "agony of having to give harrowing and distressing evidence."

In addition to putting Roddy on probation for three years for the offenses, which carry a maximum jail term of 10 years, Marrinan imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention order under which Roddy is banned from unsupervised contact with under 18 year olds, and also banned from frequenting child center locations.

Marrinan said Roddy had a deeply ingrained incorrect attitude to young girls.

"You have bizarre fantasies," he said. "It appears you had a fantasy about this young girl and befriended her before she had any contact with boys, and you kept that friendship going by the sad expedient of giving here money. That is sad and concerning and completely fanciful."

Derry Journal


What Strong Forces?

THE Bishop of Kerry has urged Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Diarmuid Martin, to explain his claim that there are "strong forces" that would prefer that the whole truth did not emerge in relation to clerical child sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Bishop Bill Murphy asked Martin to elaborate further on the claims he made when recently addressing the Knights of Columbanus.

"I would like clarification on the expression strong forces. I do not know what Archbishop Martin means by strong forces or where they are located," Murphy said.

"I am sure there are some people -- clerical and lay -- who would have wished the truth had not come out. I have not encountered any such strong forces in this diocese," he added.

Murphy said he supported the general tone of the statement made by the archbishop.

"I have read his address to the Knights of Columbanus and I am in substantial agreement with his views. In fact I have advised the priests of the diocese to read and study it," he said in a statement posted on the diocesan website.