GARDAÍ are hunting a mystery knifewoman after an elderly priest was attacked as he prepared a sermon for Sunday Mass.
Fr John Delaney, 86, was at home in the Parochical House in Coon, Co. Kilkenny when he was assaulted at around 5pm on Saturday evening.
A large woman entered the house and brandished a knife before striking Fr Delaney and causing a laceration to the back of his head, reports the Kilkenny People.
The assailant demanded cash and stole money from the priest before fleeing the scene in a cream-coloured vehicle.
Fr Delaney raised the alarm and a neighbour brought him to hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
Gardaí have conducted a technical examination of the scene and are appealing to the public for help to catch the culprit.
Superintendent Derek Hughes said: "We are appealing for information on a small cream-coloured car.
"The culprit is a female and is described as being of a strong build, approximately six feet tall with dark hair.
"We are treating this very seriously and although we are following a number of lines of enquiry we are also seeking the co-operation of the public to help solve this particularly heinous crime.
"We have a number of officers working on the investigation."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Castlecomer Garda Station on 056 444 1222, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.