Gardai have declined to comment on whether the bitter Traveller feud which dominated the headlines throughout last summer has re-erupted, following a vicious machete assault on a young man at the weekend.

Twenty-three year old William Burke remains in a critical but stable condition at Cork University Hospital, after he was attacked with a machete by masked raiders at an apartment at Rockshire Court in Ferrybank around 2am on Monday. It is understood two men wearing balaclavas burst into the apartment and severely assaulted the man, causing horrific injuries to his hand, arms and legs. There are fears that he may lose a hand as a result of the assault.

The man was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital but later moved to Cork University Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery in an attempt to save his hand.

Gardai are seeking the public’s assistance in tracing a blue Toyota Carina car, registration no 96 D 30473, which was found burnt out at Carrigeen, near the Royal Oak pub in Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, shortly after the attack.

Anyone who may have seen the vehicle in the locality on Sunday night is asked to contact their local garda station on 051-305300.

No arrests have yet been made in relation to the attack and locals are fearful that it may signify the resumption of last year’s bitter feud, which resulted in over 40 people being charged for various offences during a 6-month period.

A garda overtime bill of almost €400,000 was clocked up during the course of the feud and 11 City Council-owned houses were burnt out.