A mother of three said she and her family are “living in fear” after a gunman entered their home and allegedly fired a number of shots.
Noreen Dooley, from Askeaton, Co Limerick, her partner, and their infant twins, were asleep upstairs at the time of the gun attack.
“My children were on the floor and they were actually screaming their eyes out. The bangs alone would have frightened them. They’re only babies, they didn't even see life yet,” she said.
Ms Dooley said her partner tried to protect their 11-month twin son and daughter as bullets were fired into the family’s apartment at The Quay, Askeaton.
“He was in an awful state. He actually grabbed the twins and sat on the floor just in case (the attackers) did come to the room. He had his hands wrapped around them on the floor,” said Ms Dooley at their home.
“His back was up against the door to try to stop them coming in. We thought they were firing in from outside, we did not know they were inside until the guards told us,” she said.
Ms Dooley said their two year old son was on a sleepover with relatives at the time.
She pointed out where she said a shot ricocheted off a fridge door leaving a gaping dent.
She also showed a door to a drawer in her kitchen which she said had been “sprayed” with pellets from a shot.
Ms Dooley also showed a back kitchen window and window frame, which she said was also damaged in the shooting.
She also showed a large hole in a set of blinds int he downstairs kitchen which she said was also caused by a bullet.
She said another shot was fired up through the ceiling inside the house.
Outside the house there were a number of apparent bullet holes and pellet spray marks above an upstairs balcony at the house.
“Until the day I go to my grave I will never forget what I went though inside in the room with my kids. It’s hard to describe it,” Ms Dooley said.
“I genuinely thought they were coming through to kill us. All I wanted to do was for the guards to get to my door, I kept ringing them and ringing them. I was in such a panic.”
The family have lived in the apartment for the past 11 months, she explained.
“We’re here nearly a year. It’s always quiet around here, there are never problems.”
Ms Dooley said she was awoken by loud bangs around 3.30am last Saturday.
“I heard a load of noise. I heard the revs of a car out on the road and when I pulled back the curtains I saw a man with a gun,” she said.
“Next thing I heard all the bangs on the door and that’s when I rang the guards.
Ms Dooley said a car carrying three men pulled up outside the house and a gunman opened fire from a “long gun”.
She said she saw the man trying to to fire the gun again but that it seemed to jam on him.
“He was out on the road and he was pulling this gun up and down, and trying, and he couldn’t get it to work. It was a big long gun, one you pull the top of it up and down.”
“They came in, yes, they were in the house,” she added.
Ms Dooley, who said she and her partner are members of the local settled Traveller community, added that she did not know why the shooting happened.
“It’s not a nice experience to go through, knowing there was gunmen inside your house and two 11-month old babies on the floor,” she said.
“The guards are a great help and I’m thankful for what the guards have done. All we need now are the council to help,” said Ms Dooley.
The shaken mother claimed she has been trying since last Monday to contact Limerick City Council as well as local homeless services about securing alternative accommodation, as the family are “in fear” staying in their home.
A Council spokesperson said: “We’re not going to comment on an individual case like this.”
A garda spokesman said “criminal damage was done to the inside of the property”.
They added: “Gardaí are investigating reports of shots fired a house in Askeaton. The alarm was raised at approximately 3.30am (Saturday) when shots were fired at a house at The Quay.”
“None of the occupants were injured. The scene was preserved for examination, no arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.”
“Anyone with information is asked to contact Newcastle West Garda Station on 069-20650.