*Marty Hannan. Photograph: Joe Buckley
A SHANNON MAN has offered a €1000 reward for anyone that can put him ‘face to face’ with the men that allegedly attempted to abduct his teenage daughter.
Marty Hannan has been contacted by hundreds of people since sharing videos online in the past week recounting his experience and his determination to “protect my daughter”.
Last Thursday, his thirteen year old daughter Ava was allegedly approached “by a group of men in three different cars” by Wolfe Tones GAA grounds in Shannon.
He claimed, “One of them tried to get her into the car, they said ‘get the fuck into the car’, they went to try grab her and a passer-by came near so they withheld and she went running down the road, she found a gap in the bush because she was familiar with the area and then ran into a friend’s house and thank God she was dropped home by the parent of that friend”. These men in Ava’s recollection to her father were “wearing balaclavas”.
A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána told The Clare Echo no reported incident of an attempted abduction was made in Shannon on Thursday last.
Gardaí in Shannon have confirmed to The Clare Echo, “We are investigating an alleged incident, it is a live incident. We would ask that anyone in the area, anyone with information or dash cam footage to contact us in Shannon Garda Station”.
This investigation is understood to have commenced after Hannan’s ex-wife reported an incident to Gardaí. Marty himself has not spoken with An Garda Síochána on this matter and Shannon gardaí have said they would be more than willing to speak with him as part of the investigation.
Shannon based, Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) stated, “Following calls and messages from concerned residents about the incident with the young girl, I have been in contact with the local Garda station. They have told me that they are investigating an incident, if anyone has any information on this, I would urge you to contact the Garda on this”.
Over the past week, Marty has been trying to track down the men. He believes is getting closer in his attempts to find out where they live and said he has managed to locate the registration of one of the three vehicles from the incident. He confirmed that he has taken time off work to exert more energy to trying to find the men.
“I took a couple of days off, I finished early to try put this right and reassure the children. Since I was a kid, there has been a lot of this, it tends to be this time of year when the clocks go back and the evenings get darker and the kids go back to school, we would have always heard the story of the white van but to me I have experienced numerous things as a child seeing people coming, going and trying to get people into cars. Shannon is a prime location for anyone trying to abduct a child because you’re on the motorway in minutes”.
A €1000 reward has been put up by Marty for anyone that helps him to find the men involved. “I can’t afford it really but it is for someone who is able to put me in front of them. Most people that have been onto me don’t want the money, they just want their children to be safe, a guy brought me to what he thought were their cars but he didn’t look for money. I felt I had to put something up to get that interest, if I have to get the money together I will”.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, he started, “This is my daughter and I will not let anyone else away with, I am her protector, she has to see that someone has her back”. He added, “If these men are asking a young girl to get into a car it is not to have a chat and a conversation”. He continued, “The incident last week was on my doorstep, it was my daughter”. He said he has given up on the justice system in Ireland.
At the age of nine, Marty said that he also had a similar “personal experience” where he was “dragged into a field” by a stranger but managed to get to safety.
Three years ago, he was forced to intercept the owners of a transit van from abducting a neighbour’s child. “The van pulled up and I saw it moving back and forward, then my young neighbour she was six or seven at the time with blue eyes and blonde hair, I was in my master bedroom and could see out the window, as soon as they saw the young girl, the van’s reversing lights came on and it went into reverse, I had to jump out of the window and onto my van, I shouted at the girl to cross the road and managed to get her safely out of the way, a man jumped out of the van but he didn’t know I was there, he panicked and ran back into the van”. He said the men in this vehicle drove off and he was left disappointed with the response of Shannon Garda Station when he flagged the matter with them.