A 29-Hour Long Siege in a Small Co Tipperary Town Ended Last Night

By Brian Hutton
Irish Examiner [Ireland]
August 25, 2006

Jim Hourigan, a retired electrician in his 50s who threatened to blow himself up in Roscrea, walked from his home with his dog to the local garda station at around 6.40pm.

Superintendent Kevin Donohoe said: "I can confirm he's out."

He added: "He's now in Roscrea Garda Station. We are now working to make sure the house is rendered safe and the area will remain sealed off until then."

The separated father of three emerged calmly from the front door of his Rosemary Street terraced home shortly after the early evening news bulletins, dressed in a grey suit and wine tie, with a lit cigarette in his mouth.

He gestured to a garda officer on the road about which way to go and was directed towards the top end of the street which leads on to the town's Main Street.

With his Jack Russell dog on the end of a lead, Mr Hourigan calmly strolled past one of the police cordons and into the garda station.

He is receiving psychiatric attention and gardai do not foresee any charges being brought.

He had claimed to have rigged up an elaborate homemade bomb made of gas cylinders in the house, which he said was doused in petrol.

Earlier his solicitor, Joe Burke, of Dublin-based McCartan and Burke Solicitors, said his client resorted to the drastic action to bring attention to sex abuse claims.

"Our client was the subject of serious sexual assaults while training as a Christian Brother. One of the perpetrators of these assaults been convicted and imprisoned; our client has instigated civil proceedings seeking compensation," he said.

It is understood that Mr Hourigan wished to have the claims publicised on television before he would give himself up.

A number of stations broadcast the statements on early evening news programmes.

Some angry and emotional neighbours and business owners who had been evacuated heckled the solicitor and gardai, demanding to know when they could return to their homes and premises.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said he was extremely gratified that the situation had been resolved satisfactorily.

Former Defence Minister and local TD Michael Smith praised the gardai and emergency services for their role in resolving the stand-off.

The alert was sparked after a teenage helper at a grocery shop in the small town delivered shopping to Mr Hourigan's home around 11.45am Wednesday.

The boy rushed back to the shop distressed and crying and after leaving his trolley at the door, ran to the garda station directly across the street, according to the shop owner.

"He had tears rolling down his eyes. He said the man has a bomb down there and was going to blow up the street," he said.

Timeline: how events unfolded


1pm: Jim Hourigan isarrested in Roscrea and brought to Roxboro Road Garda Station. He is questioned about an alleged threat he made against a Limerick-based solicitor.

7pm: Gardai release Mr Hourigan. A friend, David Moloney, drives him back to Roscrea.

10pm: Mr Moloney leaves the Rosemary Street house.


1pm: Mr Hourigan asks a teenage helper at a grocery shop, who delivered shopping to him, to go to the gardai and tell them something was happening at his house.

1.15pm: Gardai arrive at his house and find it blockaded.

1.45pm: Gardai learn he had stored away seven cylinders of gas.

2pm: Fearing he has put together a homemade bomb, gardai begin evacuating up to 40 residents in the area.

3pm: The entire area is cordoned off and ambulances and fire tenders placed in adjacent streets.

5pm: Gardai open talks with Mr Hourigan and expert negotiators are brought in from Dublin.


5pm: Solicitor for Jim Hourigan issues a statement outlining his client's concerns.

6.30pm: Siege ends.


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