Gardai are understood to be fearful that the 30 firearms stolen from a licensed gun dealer close to Carrick-on-Suir in the early hours of last Friday morning could end up in the hands of feuding Limerick criminals.

At least two handguns, along with a quantity of rifles and shotguns, are thought to have been amongst the haul and garda sources have described as “disastrous” the theft of such a large number of guns by a clearly well-organised gang.

The armed robbery took place at around 1.30am at the home of Carrick native Thomas ‘Tonnie’ Keevan at Cregg, about three miles from the town on the Waterford road. Four masked men are understood to have been waiting for Mr Keevan and his partner, Rita McCarthy, when they returned home after a night out to the steward’s house on the grounds of Cregg House.

The couple were taken into the house and tied up, as were Ms McCarthy’s daughter, who is in her 20s and an elderly man, who is a caretaker on the estate. The men then raided a store adjacent to the steward’s house and robbed the firearms. They made their getaway in the family car, a beige-coloured Honda Civic Saloon registration 03 WX 5048. The vehicle was later found burnt out at the rear of Gortdrum mines at Tilary Road, Monard, off the main road between Tipperary and Limerick. Gardaí were alerted just before 5am on Friday morning when Mr Keevan managed to free himself. The four were not physically harmed, but were said to be very shaken following their ordeal.

All of the raiders wore balaclavas and had dark anoraks and gloves. They spoke with nondescript accents. Their heights were listed as 6ft, 5ft 10ins, 5ft 4ins, and 5ft 3ins. The smallest raider was described as “quite stocky”. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact gardaí at Carrick-on-Suir on 051-642040, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111 or any Garda Station.