Northern Ireland

Woman (23) killed in Co Limerick dog attack named as community left ‘horrified’

The dog involved in the incident has been put down

Nicole  Morey died following the dog attack
Nicole Morey died following the dog attack

There is shock in a Co Limerick community after a young woman was killed in a dog attack.

The 23-year-old, who was pronounced dead at the scene outside a house in Ballyneety, has been named locally as Nicole Morey.

Reports suggest she had been celebrating her birthday on the day she was attacked by the dog.

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

Gardaí 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 gardaí are still ascertaining the precise breeds involved.

In a post on social media, Ms Morey’s sister Jolene wrote: “My heart is shattered once again on your birthday.

“I only hung up on you 2 seconds before I really tried my best to help.

“I’m so sorry Nicole I love you so much it feels like a bad dream.”

Emergency services were called to the scene at 11.40pm. It is understood Gardaí including members of the Armed Support Unit found the victim fatally injured.

Her body was removed for a post-mortem examination at University Hospital Limerick.

The dog involved in the incident was put down. It is understood it was shot by Gardaí, while three other canines were seized.

Councillor Brigit 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.”

Councillor Conor Sheehan also said it was “very, very tragic” and his sympathies go out to the woman’s family.

Councillor Adam Teskey said there was shock among local people.

“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 it is a “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.”

Social protection minister Heather Humphreys
Heather Humphreys said it is a 'deeply shocking incident'

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 had 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 had 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.