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'Do the right thing and come forward': Gardai plead for more information over attack on Tom Niland

Tom was attacked in his home last month.

LAST UPDATE | 13 Feb 2022

GARDAÍ IN SLIGO have said they have secured “significant evidence” in the Tom Niland assault investigation. 

Tom (72) was attacked at his home by three armed raiders on 18 January. He remains in a critical condition and on life support. 

Gardaí are this afternoon carrying out a number of searches along the N59, between Doonflynn, Dromore West and along the route leading up as far as Lough Easkey.

Superintendent Mandy Gaynor of Sligo Garda Station said that everything is being done to bring Tom’s attackers to justice. 

She said: “Significant evidence connected with this crime has already been recovered along this route. The searches today, are to identify and recover any other material of evidential value to this investigation. 

“The search is being coordinated from the Incident Room in Sligo. I am utilising every resource at my disposal in this investigation. Today’s searches involve the Sligo Divisional Search team, the Garda Mounted Unit, Garda Dog Unit, Garda Water Unit, Garda Air Support, local Civil Defence and community volunteers.”

Gaynor said she and her team have been overwhelmed by the significant level of community support and information being received by the investigation team at Sligo Garda Station.

“I am satisfied that progress continues to be made with the investigation to date. We are following specific lines of enquiry, taken numerous statements, secured hours of CCTV footage and continue to liaise with Forensic Science Ireland (FSI). I am determined that the criminals who carried out this crime will be brought to justice and my Investigation team are working tirelessly to ensure this happens,” she added. 

Gaynor added that she is confident there are still people out there who know who was involved in this aggravated burglary and serious assault on an elderly man in his home.

“I am asking you to do the right thing and come forward. Any information that you may have no matter how small or insignificant you think it may be could be significant to the investigation team. Any information received will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

The attack on Tom has ignited huge debate and generated conversations in relation to rural crime. However, Gaynor has pleaded with people not to share ill-informed speculation about the case online as it will only serve to hamper the investigation. 

“I would strongly appeal to everyone, please do not engage in speculation about this crime. Do not be drawn into the spread of fake news, particularly on social media platforms. Inaccurate and ill-informed speculation is not helpful to the investigation and can generate unease and fear.

“If you believe you have information that is of assistance to the investigation team please provide that information directly to the investigation team in Sligo at 071 9157000.

“Gardaí, right across the country, are very aware that people particularly in our older communities, those living alone or living in isolated areas are scared and worried. I want to say – “Your home is your castle, your safe place”.

“I want to reassure any elderly person listening that the callous burglary and level of violence in this incident is very rare. The use of such vicious violence is not a common or regular occurrence.”