Gardaí renew appeal after man (73) left on life support after burglary

Gardaí Renew Appeal After Man (73) Left On Life Support After Burglary
Gardaí in Sligo are renewing their appeal for information on an aggravated burglary, which has left a man in a critical condition in hospital.
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James Cox

Gardaí in Sligo are renewing their appeal for information on an aggravated burglary, which has left a man in a critical condition in hospital.

Thomas Niland (73) is on life support in hospital following a serious assault in his home in Skreen, on the evening of January 18th.


Mr Niland suffered serious head and upper body injuries when three men broke into his home and stole a small sum of cash.

“There are people out there who know who was involved in this aggravated burglary and serious assault on an elderly man in his home,” Superintendent Mandy Gaynor, of Sligo Garda Station, said.

“Thomas Niland and his family deserve to have these criminals who carried out this heartless act brought to justice.”


Gardaí have said “no stone will be left unturned” in their investigation, and they have already recovered hours of CCTV footage, taken a number of statements and developed several lines of inquiry.


“Gardai are appealing for any person with any information on this vicious and cowardly aggravated burglary and assault on Tom to contact us immediately,” a spokesperson said.

Gardaí believe his attackers arrived and escaped in a car at around 7pm that evening.

Gardaí were alerted by neighbours after Mr Niland managed to crawl from his home to seek help from passing motorists.

He was then transferred to Sligo University Hospital. Mr Niland's condition quickly deteriorated, and he is now on life support.


A large scale criminal investigation has been launched since the aggravated burglary on Mr Niland's home.

An incident room has been established at Sligo Garda station with a Senior Investigating Officer appointed to the investigation, along with a team of experienced detectives and gardaí.

Local councillor Michael Clarke told RTÉ's Morning Ireland: "This is a terrible crime, these people that break into senior citizens' homes and assault them, and rob them and murder them, there has to be proper deterrents put in place, and we hope that the Dáil will have another look at this to ensure that deterrents are put in.

"We have to send a message to our senior citizens that we hear them, we are concerned for them, and we're thinking about them now at this time.



"There was a vigil on Saturday night in Corballa, about 50 people gathered in prayer because Tom's life is in so much danger now. We hope that the power of prayer might help Tom at this time."

He added: "He had a small farm himself, he worked on a neighbouring large farm with beef and cattle, and he worked very hard up until his retirement and he was an active member of the IFA, and he went to many protests in Dublin to support the farming community, and he was there all his life to support people and help people.

"He was a very healthy retired gentleman, and he had a nice life and his house was kept immaculate - he had a long active life ahead of him. He was in no way vulnerable, and we were never concerned about his health or his being alone because he's such a strong, fine man and for this to happen is terrible." - Additional reporting from Vivienne Clarke

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