A 16-YEAR-old boy was last night in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed in what gardai said was an unprovoked attack as he walked home from school.
The student was walking through Drogheda, Co Louth with four other friends from a secondary school when they were confronted by a man.
The man, who appeared intoxicated, produced a breadknife, waved it around, and moved towards the group.
The group tried to disperse but the man caught up with one of them and the youngster, who was in his school uniform, was stabbed in the back.
The incident happened close to Whitworth Hall on Laurence Street at about 4.15pm.
Gardai were quickly on the scene as a member of the public noticed the start of the disturbance and telephoned Drogheda garda station.
Superintendent Gerry Smith confirmed the teenager had been stabbed.
It is understood the boy is from the town and attends a local school.
A 21-year-old man from the town was arrested a short time later on the adjoining Chord Road.
A weapon was also recovered.
Supt Smith said the teenager had been taken to Our Lady of Lourdes hospital and while his condition was not life-threatening it was "serious".
"This was a horrific crime and there is no place in society for this type of behaviour. We have established an investigation team and a full investigation is under way," he said.
The man remains in garda custody this morning and a file will be prepared for the DPP.
He is being held under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. Gardai last night appealed for witnesses to the attack.
Sources said the man was "well known to gardai" and had recently been released from prison.