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Saturday 3 December 2016

Gardaí probe into alleged serious sexual assault of student at UCD

Ken Foy and Robin Schiller

Published 30/11/2016 | 02:30

University College Dublin
University College Dublin

Gardaí have launched an investigation into the alleged serious sexual assault of a young woman at UCD's Belfield campus last Thursday.

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A woman made a report to officers after claiming that she had been victim of sexual assault on the grounds of the university.

Concerned student: Alison Sweeney. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Concerned student: Alison Sweeney. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The case is being investigated by specialist garda officers at Donnybrook who were due to get a full statement from the woman last night.

No arrests have been made and gardai have not yet identified a suspect for the attack.

It is believed that the student who has made a complaint to gardaí had been out socialising with friends on the day the alleged assault took place on the Belfield campus.

Specialist garda officers will now determine what course the investigation will take.

Concerned student: Leah Harte. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Concerned student: Leah Harte. Photo: Gerry Mooney

"Gardaí are investigating an alleged assault that occurred at UCD on Thursday 24 November between 10am and 11.30pm," a Garda spokesman told the Irish Independent.

News of the attack has raised safety fears among students at the Dublin campus, having previously become concerned following the violent assault on a young woman near Maynooth University last month.

The registrar and deputy president Professor Mark Rogers sent an email to students last night advising them of safety measures.

"Students have been raising concerns about personal safety on campus - particularly at night," he said.

Security

He assured students that they could avail of the UCD Walk Safe Service and provided numbers for on-campus services, the university's security service and also local garda stations.

UCD student Katie Baldwin (18) from Foxrock said: "I was absolutely shocked when I heard about the attack, my sympathies go out to the girl. There is 24-hour security on the campus and you would generally feel safe, so it was definitely a shock when I heard that an attack happened on the grounds."

Parents have also become concerned about their children's safety in the wake of the attack according to Leah Harte (18) from Co Wexford.

"My parents have been ringing more each day now since the attack last week. We used to feel comfortable walking alone but now we would go in pairs; we wouldn't feel safe walking alone," Leah said.

Alison Sweeney (20) from Leitrim, said: "You wouldn't think that something like this could happen on a college campus. There is a lot of security."

Irish Independent

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