Outrage after racist attack in heart of the capital
9pm on country's main street and a shop comes under siege for 20 minutes
Published 16/04/2014 | 02:30
A sickening racial attack on a Dublin shop in the country's main thoroughfare has caused outrage among business groups and the opposition.
Businesses say attacks on staff, including physical assaults and violent and threatening behaviour, are now commonplace and are particularly felt in the country's busiest streets, and some in broad daylight.
Gardai say they are investigating after the Irish Independent revealed shocking footage of a group of youths attempting to batter down the front door of a Spar retail outlet on O'Connell Street, in Dublin city centre, at 9pm on Monday night.
The violent scenes broke out after shop staff apprehended a man trying to steal some bars of chocolate.
The staff locked the man inside before calling the gardai. However, a number of males passing by the scene began kicking the door in an effort to release the shoplifter.
The youths shouted racial slurs at the shop staff who were punched in the violent stand-off. One of the shop workers had his throat throttled in the attack. The confrontation lasted more than 20 minutes before the man managed to prise the door open and make his escape.
Eyewitnesses said it was a miracle there were no injuries sustained in the attack and said they were waiting for the gardai to arrive to help the under-attack shop workers.
"It was lucky nobody got hurt because at one stage, one of the workers had a wine bottle and the guys who charged the door were trying to get it off him. Somebody could definitely have been hurt if they got that.
"We were waiting for the gardai to arrive. Where were they? It must have been 15 minutes before they got there. The lads were all gone at that stage," an eyewitness said.
Last night a garda spokes- man said he could not say for "operational reasons" how long it had taken officers to arrive on the scene after the alarm was raised.
Irish Small and Medium Enterprises chief executive Mark Fielding said gardai had increased efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour around the O'Connell Street area but said businesses such as shops and restaurants were suffering from such behaviour.
"It's a daily occurrence for businesses. Would you want to be walking past these guys at a doorway? It's cutting down footfall for retail stores right around the country, especially in the major cities, and in O'Connell Street in particular, it's quite problematic," Mr Fielding said.
"We'd get two or three such complaints every month but they're only the ones where it gets to the stage where people can't take any more."
He said jobs were ultimately "at risk" because in some cases footfall had dropped by up to 30pc due to antisocial behaviour.
The opposition has also condemned the behaviour captured in the shocking footage.
TD for Dublin North Central Finian McGrath said intimidation of small business was commonplace and called on Justice Minister Alan Shatter "to wake up to the antisocial issue".
Appalling attack: video on independent.ie