A WOMAN whose parked car was burgled is one of four suspects being questioned by gardai about a savage attack on the alleged thief.
The 27-year-old victim, who is known to gardai but not regarded as a major criminal, is in a critical condition in hospital.
He was punched and kicked repeatedly in the head after he became involved in a row over allegedly breaking into the car on a south Dublin city street.
Investigators carried out a number of swoops on houses in the south city and in Coolock on the northside of the capital yesterday morning and arrested two men and two women.
The men are being questioned under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act about the assault at Lamb Alley in the south inner city between 1am and 1.30am on Sunday.
They can be held without charge for up to 24 hours, excluding rest periods.
The two women were arrested for allegedly withholding information about the attack and held under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
They can be detained without charge for up to three days.
One of the women is the owner of the burgled car. All four suspects are known to each other. The car was parked at Meath Street when it was burgled at around 1am.
Less than half an hour later, the man was subjected to what gardai described as a very violent assault. He sustained a series of horrific head injuries and was taken to St James's Hospital and then to Beaumont Hospital's neurological unit .
While his condition last night was critical, his injuries were said not to be life threatening. However, there are understood to be serious concerns about the injuries inflicted by repeated kicking and punching.
Gardai said the victim was not known to them as a car thief but had been under investigation in the past in connection with other minor crime.
Officers said it was not yet clear whether any property had been stolen from the car.
They did not believe that any weapon was used in the attack.
The four suspects are being questioned at Irishtown, Pearse Street, Kevin Street and Kilmainham garda stations.
Launching a witness appeal, gardai said last night they were specifically seeking to speak to a taxi driver who had picked up two men at Meath Street at about 1.15am on Sunday.
The taxi was a dark or black saloon, possibly an Opel Insignia.
The men travelled a short distance and were then dropped off at Francis Street.
Gardai said they were also looking for anyone who was in the Meath Street or Lamb Alley areas between 1am and 1.30am and asked them to contact Kevin Street station, phone 01 666 9400, or the confidential phoneline at 1800 666 111.
Tom Brady Security Editor