Two teens critically ill after vicious knife attack
Unprovoked incident shocks town
TWO innocent teenagers were still described as critically ill in hospital last night after an unprovoked knife attack on seven teenage friends in Drogheda early yesterday morning.
A 17-year-old was arrested after the incident on West Street, the town's main street shortly after 12.30am. Gardai are studying CCTV images of the incident, which appear to show the attack was entirely unprovoked.
The seven youths, who had been standing chatting near the corner of Laurence Street, were stabbed and taken to Lourdes Hospital.
A 16-year-old, named locally as Conor Young from Westcourt, Drogheda, was critically injured and was transferred to the Mater Hospital in Dublin, where his condition was last evening described as stable. The other, 23-year-old Mark Nutley from Highlands, a well-known member of the Drogheda Brass Band, was yesterday said to be improving in the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth. His brother Paddy Nutley was among those stabbed.
Four of those injured were released from the Lourdes after treatment for superficial wounds in the Accident and Emergency Unit and another victim was released later yesterday.
According to local people, it appears that a 17-year-old was refused service at a pub in Laurence Street shortly after midnight. He then ran down the road towards West Street.
The group of youths were standing chatting on the pavement when he approached wielding a knife.
Local people said a taxi driver, followed by other people, intervened and subdued the youth until gardai arrived. Gardai say they received a call at 12.30am. They said a man armed with a knife "confronted a group of males who had no involvement in the incident (in the pub) and attacked them with a knife".
The pavement where the attack took place was drenched with blood. The stabbing happened just a few metres from where Therese Moore was stabbed last month and has left people shocked by the upsurge in knife crime.
"This is one of the most shocking and violent incidents we have had in the town centre in the past decade," said Mayor of Drogheda Michael O'Dowd. "It is now time to introduce zero tolerance for knife crime."
According to local people, the youth arrested is believed to have consumed alcohol and drugs, including legal drugs from a head shop.
Garda and local sources say Drogheda, like every other town in Ireland, is experiencing increasing public order incidents linked to alcohol and legal and illegal drugs.
The predominant legal drug associated with violent behaviour is the widely available mephadrone, an amphetamine which causes severely agitated and often violent behaviour. The synthetic cocaine drugs mixed with alcohol can also provoke similar behaviour.
A weapon was recovered at the scene and yesterday afternoon gardai had the period of detention for the youth who was arrested extended. He remains in garda custody.