A GUNMAN held up a congregation of about 70 people during a service at a Christian outreach centre in Dublin on Sunday.
A service was under way at the Compassion Centre, which is located in a unit at the Ballymun Industrial Estate, when the gunman entered at about midday with a sawn-off shotgun. He demanded money from the congregation, which is made up largely of immigrants.
Shouting “You might meet your maker today,” the man ordered a member of the congregation, at gunpoint, to go around the room and collect wallets, cash, and mobile phones.
The senior pastor at the church, John Eniola, said: “He just came in from the back holding a shotgun, with a balaclava covering his face. He said: ‘Don’t mess with me, I’m not joking. Bring out your wallet, bring out your phones. If you mess, I will shoot.’”
A missionary at the church, Daniel Tabb, said: “I have a two-year-old and an eight-year-old, and I was just lying on top of them with my wife as well. . . It was terrifying for many people.” The intruder, he said, “was just as nervous — or more nervous — than us”.
Gardaí are searching for the assailant after discovering the stolen car a short distance from the building.
Evangelical church “plantings” have sprung up to cater for the immigrant communities that are not affiliated to any of the main Christian denominations in the city.