Parishioners ‘felt shock and horror’ at stabbing of woman (72)

Pensioner Bridie Smith remains critical after attack on doorstep in Ballyfermot

Parishioners at a church in west Dublin felt an “extraordinary sense of shock and real horror” at the news that a 72-year-old woman had been stabbed at her own front door on New Year’s Day, a local priest said.

Bridie Smith was attacked at her home on Oranmore Road in Ballyfermot at about 9.30am on Sunday morning.

Fr Joe McDonald of St Matthew’s Church had been saying Mass when the news began to filter through, he said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Fr McDonald said word had come through to the church at about mid-morning.


“You can imagine the awful shock that people felt when they heard it,” he said.

He said the initial feeling was one of disbelief and an “extraordinary sense of shock and real horror”.

Fr McDonald said the family was part of the parish. “It’s a closely knit parish, even though we are talking about a city parish in west Dublin,” he said.

There’s was a “very strong atmosphere” based on “the old idea of good neighbours”.

“This has affected people not just right through Oranmore but across the parish.”

Fr McDonald said Ms Smith had lived in the parish for many years and most of her family lived in the general area of Ballyfermot.

Commenting on the words of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin about a dangerous culture of violence developing across communities, Fr McDonald said:

“When we go down the road of violence there is no happiness, there is no joy, no peace and all the things we’d be praying for and wishing for people at the beginning of a new year. An act like this…will always lead to more.

“The problem is that violence leads to violence - it’s a spiral. And what you end up with is anger and hurt and revenge and where that takes a momentum, all we have is heartache and suffering.”

Ms Smith is in critical condition in hospital following the attack, which gardaí are treating as an assault causing harm. They are trying to establish a motive for the assault on the pensioner.

No arrests have yet been made and it remained unclear on Sunday night if the assault was carried out by a lone attacker or a group. Locals said a number of men were seen running from the scene.

Ms Smith is believed to have lived in the house for over 30 years, and has a number of children. She was described by locals as a quiet woman who “kept herself to herself”.