Thieves target ‘annoyed’ Abbeyleix businessman twice

AN Abbeyleix businessman has this week spoken out over his annoyance and frustration after his premises was targeted by burglars for the second time.

AN Abbeyleix businessman has this week spoken out over his annoyance and frustration after his premises was targeted by burglars for the second time.

“Break-ins are absolutely rampant throughout the county,” outlined Michael McDonnell who was one of the victims of the August 28/29 south Laois burglary blitz.

Mr McDonnell has operated his home improvement and supplies business on Market Square in Abbeyleix for forty years.

“The first raid was last August and I was hit again in the early hours of last Wednesday. It is tough being in business in the current climate and it is not until it happens to yourself that you realise the impact. It never happened in 40 years before these two incidents and it annoys you,” Mr McDonnell told the ‘Leinster Express’.

He continued, “I’m very uptight about it now. I know it is more serious if it happens to an old person living on their own and they happen to be in their home at the time. It is very intrusive for them. It is frustrating. It seems the law just applies to law abiding citizens, while the career criminals don’t give a damn.”

Mr McDonnell explained that the thieves ‘did a bit of damage and tossed things around’. During the first burglary cash was taken but there was no cash on the premises on the second occasion.

“I never considered that my premises contained target stock – it is not the type of stuff you can readily convert to cash. I was unlucky the first time it happened because there was a day’s takings in the till. Whereas the other night I had the cash taken and lodged.”

Mr McDonnell suggested that the hands of local representatives are ‘tied somewhat on the issue’ but added that the policy of closing some rural Garda Stations and the freeze on recruitment is “crazy when there is a need for Gardaí now more than ever.”

He continued, “People are really pee’d off that crime does pay. Criminals with a long list of previous convictions are able to walk away free from court. And the further away the forces of law and order are from you, the more lawless it will become. There is not the slightest doubt about that. The Gardaí must also be frustrated if an ‘i’ isn’t dotted or a ‘t’ isn’t crossed and a case is thrown out, frivolous stuff.”

Mr McDonnell is hoping to retire from business and his decision is unrelated to the recent crimes he has been the victim of. “I’m at a stage of my life where I am forty years at it and I’m looking to sell the business and it is just the wrong time, I can’t sell. A couple of years ago I knew it was time to go and I’ve left it with the auctioneer for sale and the first chance I get I’ll go because I’ll be pension age next year.”