An armed gang is being sought after the wife of a bank official was held hostage during an attempted raid on a Bank of Ireland branch in Kilkenny city.

The gang forced their way into the home of former Kilkenny hurler Adrian Ronan at 6.15am this morning and took Mr Ronan's wife hostage before sending him to work.

He was told to pick up a sum of money from the bank on Parliament Street.

However, the gang never made contact with Mr Ronan in order to collect the money from him. No money was handed over and no arrests have so far been made.

His wife was found unharmed at a weather station at Granges Road in Kilkenny.

She has now been now been reunited with her husband and their three children. They are said to be traumatised but otherwise unhurt.

Gardaí are appealing for anyone who was near the weather station or anyone who was in the Parliament Street area to contact them at the incident room in Kilkenny on 056-7775070.

Minister for Justice Drmot Ahern and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy are to meet representatives from the banks and financial institutions on Thursday to discuss the recent bank raids and kidnappings.