Thursday 23 October 2014

They banged on my door and shouted 'nigger'

Published 15/06/2014 | 02:30

Happy Agamah, from Rathfarnham, examines the aftermath of the arson attempt on his apartment. Photo: David Conachy

A FOREIGN taxi driver is planning to leave the country after a terrifying and racially motivated petrol bomb attack on his home.

Happy Agamah (63), who is a German citizen, was asleep in his ground floor apartment home in Rathfarnham, south Dublin, when thugs set fire to a fuel-soaked mattress and smashed his bedroom window. A shed outside his window caught fire and was destroyed in the blaze.

He said he is lucky to be alive after the attack and is now planning to return to Germany, where he grew up and spent 47 years of his life and worked as an engineer.

Mr Agamah told the Sunday Independent: "I never experienced anything like this in Germany. I was in the bedroom when they set fire to the mattress. I have had many incidents since coming here. They have banged on my door at night and shout 'come out nigger ... you niggers come here to take our jobs.'

"There were three or four of them on Sunday night. The guards came, but they did not take any statement from me. When my car was damaged they took no statement.

"There was an incident when there was a girl lying unconscious on the pavement. She was drunk and these men asked me to lift her up but I said they should call an ambulance. They attacked me and after that they smashed my car. They called me a nigger bastard and say 'get out of our country'."

A neighbour in the Glenmore Estate said the attacks are part of a racially motivated campaign against Mr Agamah. There were three attacks on Mr Agamah's home last Sunday night and early Monday morning when the blaze was started.

The first took place around 11pm on Sunday when a man attempted to set another fire in a plastic paint container and smashed the back door to the corridor outside his apartment. Gardai were alerted to that but left shortly after arriving, according to one neighbour.

There was a second incident with more damage done to the apartment just before 1am on Monday and gardai were again called to the scene by neighbours.

An hour after the gardai left for the second time the fire was started and the fire brigade had to be called as neighbours feared it would spread to the apartment building.

The attempt to burn Mr Agamah's apartment in the Glenmore estate was the latest in a series of racially motivated incidents against the taxi driver.

Two months ago his Mercedes car was badly damaged and an attempt was made to smash in his front door with a hammer.

Mr Agamah, who grew up and lived in Hamburg for 47 years, worked for Daimler Chrysler, but came to Dublin after being laid off at a time when the car industry was in recession. He found an engineering job here with a US firm, part of the IBM group.

His contract ended just as the recession struck in 2008 and he could find no other engineering work so began driving a taxi.

He said he preferred to work as he does not like the idea of living on social welfare.

A neighbour, who asked not to be identified, told the Sunday Independent: "I called the guards three times on Sunday night. The flames from the fire were shooting up to the roof. We were afraid it could get in under the eaves and spread across the roof space. People could have been killed.

"This shouldn't happen to anyone. It's horrible. The guards didn't ask me for a statement. I was outside. They didn't ask for my contact details."

Mr Agamah said he has experienced repeated instan-ces of racism in his work driving a taxi and stopped picking up fares in central Dublin after he was attacked and beaten up on the Liffey Quays two years ago. He works mainly in the suburbs now.

The Garda Press office said gardai from Rathfarnham station are investigating the incident and arrested a 36-year-old woman who was released after questioning. They said investigations are "ongoing".

Sunday Independent

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