Roscrea Incident Ends As Concerns Highlighted

By Tim O'Brien
The Irish Times [Ireland]
August 25, 2006

The major Garda operation around a house in Roscrea in which a man had barricaded himself since Wednesday afternoon, threatening to blow himself up, ended last night when the man walked calmly from his home along with his dog at 6.35pm.

Jim Hourigan, a retired electrician in his 50s, left the house after a statement by his solicitor was broadcast on evening news bulletins. He walked towards waiting gardai and went voluntarily to Roscrea Garda station. He left a short time later and is believed to have sought hospital treatment immediately. The Garda Press Office was unable to say what, if any, charges might be brought against him.

Gardai had evacuated more than 40 people from their homes in the Rosemary Street area of Roscrea on Wednesday afternoon after Mr Hourigan began his protest action. He had contacted a number of news outlets advising them he had canisters of gas and petrol, and gardai were fearful for his safety inside the house. Gardai engaged in constant negotiations with him throughout.

Yesterday afternoon, solicitor Joe Burke of Dublin-based solicitors McCartan Burke read a statement to the media which said Mr Hourigan felt "compelled" to instigate his action to draw attention to personal difficulties. The statement said Mr Hourigan had suffered serious sexual assaults while training as a Christian Brother. One of the abuse perpetrators had been tried and imprisoned, but Mr Hourigan's civil proceedings "have been ongoing for a number of years and he has become increasingly frustrated by the delays in achieving justice".

"He has taken these actions in order to bring attention to his situation in the hope of achieving justice."

The statement said McCartan Burke Solicitors had recently been appointed by Mr Hourigan and had advised him that he could seek to have his concerns about the delays addressed through appropriate channels. Following the intervention of the law firm, the gardai and unnamed others, Mr Hourigan was "hopeful that justice could now be achieved in the short to medium term", the statement added.

In a telephone call to The Irish Times before he left the house yesterday, Mr Hourigan said he also had issues with gardai relating to a prosecution for drink-driving and the non-payment of a fine for which he had served time in prison. But he said his greatest concern was the progress of his abuse case.


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