Waterford Gardai, still on high alert following escalation of a vicious local Traveller feud in which a teenage girl is the latest shooting victim, were continuing to question a man today (Friday) in connection with the incident.
Bridget Delaney (16) was shot with a high-powered pellet gun at Bilberry halting site on Monday night and is now on crutches having been discharged from hospital following treatment for her injuries.
A man suspected of the shooting was arrested on Wednesday and having been questioned for 24 hours the gardai were granted an extension of time for further interrogation. That period runs out around lunchtime today, at which stage he will have to be either charged or released.
In a further incident believed to be part of the ongoing feud, one car rammed another at Cork Road, near Kingsmeadow, shortly after noon on Tuesday. As a consequence a man in the rammed car was hospitalised. He was released next day.
Three occupants of the other car were arrested and appeared before the local District Court on Wednesday evening. They were variously charged with assault, criminal damage and dangerous driving and all three were remanded in custody for a week, with consent to bail. They are Martin and Patrick Burke of 12 Farran Park and Thomas Burke, 51 Kilcohan Park.
Bridget Delaney’s distraught mother, Bridget Snr, who witnessed the awful attack on the young girl shortly after 10.30, said she feared initially for the child’s life. She described those responsible as “cowards and rats”, saying only rats came out at night the way those people did.
She watched in horror as her daughter first recoiled and then collapsed from the impact of the pellets. The victim’s sister Margaret bravely ran to her aid and helped her into the family’s mobile home. She then cradled her in her arms while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance.
The extended family of Mrs Dalaney, a mother of seven children, had previously been targeted by both verbal threats and property attacks.
Her daughter remains traumatised by the attack, which happened as she walked by her home and residents of the halting site are furious over what happened.
Gardai, who have appealed for assistance in their investigations, said the attack was deliberate and carefully staged – with the assailants having apparently hidden near the site before striking sniper style.
The gardai are checking whether a burned-out car found at Gracedieu might be linked to the shooting incident.
A month ago, as part of the feud, a 14 year old boy was shot in Ballybeg and there have also been arson and hatchet attacks, damage to property and fist fights. It is now a month since church leaders in the city appealed to members of two families engaged in the row to step back from the brink, before somebody was killed.
Travellers clash at Courthouse
Sixteen-year-old girl shot at Bilberry