NewsCrime Desk

Garda searches lead to discovery of firearm after shooting of young woman

Garda searches lead to discovery of firearm after shooting of young woman
Ciara Sheehan, the victim of the gun attack (Pic: Herald)
Ciara Sheehan, the victim of the gun attack (Pic: Herald)

Gardai investigating the shooting of an innocent young woman in Cork have recovered a firearm.

The weapon was recovered as part of extensive searches by gardai in the Hollyhill and Knocknaheeny areas of Cork city in the wake of the terrifying shooting.

The weapon will now be sent for forensic and ballistic examinations.

Ciara Sheehan (21) was blasted in the throat after a chilling threat had been made on Facebook by a man later arrested in connection with the attack.

She was rushed to hospital after being shot early yesterday. The bullet went through the window of the house she was in at the time and hit her in the neck.

Gardai believe the attack is linked to an ongoing dispute between two members of different families - but has nothing to do with Ms Sheehan.

A neighbour of the family said that she was worried about things escalating to this level.

"I heard the shot between midnight and 12.30am. I got up out of bed but only heard one gunshot at the front of the house," she said.

"All the windows were smashed in in that house last year. The victims are a lovely family, so it is terrible to see this go on.

"We have been dealing with this for 15 or 16 years but it has been getting worse and worse for a long time.

"It started off as something small but now it has escalated. It is very unpredictable and you don't know where you stand.

"Another family has been drawn into it now because she has been shot. It is terrible.

"Something will have to be done now because it is going on too long and it will go too far."

Local Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould said the community was in shock.

"This is a nice estate, with a lot of young families. People have seen what is happening in Dublin and are worried about a lack of garda resources.

"The gardai are overworked, under-resourced and underpaid."

Ms Sheehan underwent emergency surgery at Cork University Hospital yesterday and is said to be in a serious but stable condition.

A man (29) and a woman (22) were arrested shortly after the incident and were being questioned at Gurranabraher and Bridewell garda stations in Cork last night under section 30 of the Offences Against the State act.

It is understood that the man was previously known to gardaí. Late on Saturday night, he posted on Facebook that he was looking for members of a family from the house that was shot at.

The details of the message cannot be publicised for legal reasons - but he said that it was time for a "war" with the other family and another individual.

The shooting took place less than two hours later.

At least one shot was fired at the front of a house in the Hollywood Estate in Knocknaheeney, on the northside of the city.

The bullet hole was visible in the sitting-room window yesterday as gardaí preserved the scene.

Ms Sheehan, who is from Ardcullen in Cork, was in the house, which was first targeted with a rock through a sliding door in the front porch and later the gunshot through a front window.

Locals said they were concerned about the escalation of violence in the row.

One witness said they heard at least one gunshot before gardaí arrived at the scene.

"I was listening to the radio with headphones on but my daughter came in and told me she had heard a gunshot.

"I thought it was a car backfiring but then I saw all the blue lights outside and knew something had happened."

Gardai spent yesterday examining the scene. They questioned neighbours in the estate and combed the area for clues as children played with parents on the street.

The same house has been the target of attacks in the past.