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Community ‘horrified’ after woman killed in dog attack in Co Limerick

One dog was put down by gardai and several others were seized (Brian Lawless/PA)
One dog was put down by gardai and several others were seized (Brian Lawless/PA)

Tributes have been paid to a young woman who was killed in a dog attack in the south-west of Ireland that has shocked the local community.

Emergency services and the regional Armed Support Unit attended a house in Ballyneety, Co Limerick, at around 11.40pm on Tuesday.

The woman was treated by paramedics at the scene but succumbed to her injuries. Her body was taken to University Hospital Limerick for a post-mortem examination.

She has been named locally as 23-year-old Nicole Morey, whose birthday was on Tuesday.

Family members of Ms Morey paid tribute to her on social media, and said they were heartbroken at the news of her death.

Gardai said they encountered “a number of aggressive dogs” at the scene, one of which has since been put down.

Several others have been seized by the dog warden, one of which is understood to be an XL bully, though gardai are still ascertaining the precise breeds involved.

An investigation is under way at Roxboro Road Garda Station and the scene is being held for a technical examination.

Local councillor Brigid Teefy described the incident as “terrible”.

“I was talking to people on the phone and everybody is horrified,” she told the PA news agency.

“It’s a horrific story. It’s so rare that there’s an occurrence like that.”

Another councillor, Conor Sheehan, said the incident was “very, very tragic” and said that his sympathies go out to the woman’s family.

Councillor Adam Teskey also sent his condolences, and said there is shock among locals.

“This is a harrowing moment in our community,” he said.

Rural Minister Heather Humphreys, who recently set up a group to examine dog control, said she was “appalled” by the “deeply shocking incident”.

“I was appalled and sickened when I heard the news this morning about this young woman who was savagely killed by a dog, and my thoughts and my prayers are with her family.”

In a statement, she said: “A Garda investigation is under way and it’s important we establish the facts on what happened.

“I have consistently said that more action is required in relation to dog control.

“That’s why I have set up a cross-governmental stakeholder group, chaired by the retired deputy garda commissioner John Twomey, to examine this whole area.”

She said she has asked the group to examine the restricted breeds list and whether Ireland should follow the example of the UK and Northern Ireland.

“If they recommend to me that we should ban a particular breed, I’m happy to do that. But I want to let them carry out their work because there’s a number of different views and different approaches on this and I want to make sure we get it right.”

There are several restricted breeds in Ireland, including German shepherds, rottweilers and various bull terriers, as well as some crosses.

Restricted dogs must be kept collared with their owner’s information on a tag, muzzled in public and on a short, strong lead with someone over the age of 16 who is able to control them.

Asked when the working group’s work will be completed, Ms Humphreys said they have held a number of meetings to date.

“I will be speaking with the chair again today to find out exactly what their current situation is but I know they’ve met on a number of occasions already and these would be issues that they’ll be looking at,” she said.