The mother of a young girl who survived a gunshot wound to the neck has pleaded for a housing transfer after her daughter was subjected to vile online threats and abuse a day after a man was jailed for the attack, writes Eoin English of the Irish Examiner.
Ciara Sheehan’s mother, Susan O’Mahony, has spoken out publicly about the torrent of abuse her daughter has suffered after Gavin Sheehan was sentenced to 11 years in jail for the shooting. “I just want a bit of peace and quiet. I want to take my daughter away from here where she recover, so we can recover, so she can do normal things,” Ms O’Mahony told Neil Prendeville on RedFM.
“We keep ourselves to ourselves. We want to start fresh — surely we deserve a bit of peace and quiet.”
Ciara was in her boyfriend’s house in Hollywood Estate on the northside of Cork City on May 14 last when a shot was fired through the front window. Ciara was hit in the neck and was lucky to survive.
Gavin Sheehan, aged 30, of 7 Laurel Ridge, Shanakiel, Cork, denied the charges against him related to possessing and firing the gun and most significantly, seriously injuring the young woman. But he was found guilty of possessing a Smith and Wesson 60.96 semi-automatic firearm, discharging it, and causing serious harm to Ciara , and the related charge of having ammunition.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin sentenced him at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday to 14 years in jail, with three years suspended.
Ciara has since been targeted with vicious online threats and abuse. Ms O’Mahony said it has had a devastating effect on Ciara and her family, and that the threats have been reported to gardaí.
“We are a bag of nerves. It’s been awful,” she said.
“We thought everything would stop after the sentencing, that we would have closure and be able to move on with our lives, and allow Ciara recover. Then we had all these threats made. We are very upset, very stressed, very anxious. It’s non-stop.
“Ciara has done nothing wrong, she’s an innocent victim in all of this. I nearly lost my daughter. The bullet missed an artery by the width of a piece of paper.”
In her victim impact statement, Ciara said she still suffers anxiety and panic attacks.
Her mother said: “I don’t see my daughter anymore, I see a different girl. Her work has been affected, she is not the same bubbly young girl she was. She is sad all the time, and can’t be happy for anything. They won’t leave her alone, she can’t move on, she can’t get better, it’s really upsetting.”
She said her family has lived in the area for the last 20 years but they don’t feel comfortable there anymore.
“I built my home around me. Ciara grew up here, went to school here, all her friends are here. But everything has completely changed. Our whole lives have been ruined. We just want to live a normal life.”
A spokesperson for City Hall’s housing department said: “Transfer requests are subject to a range of compulsory conditions that must be met. The council is more than willing to assist in any way possible.”
This story first appeared in today’s Irish Examiner.