Sunday 16 June 2019

FF candidate left with broken wrist after attack by youths

Local election candidate knocked to ground and beaten with brush while taking part in clean-up

Vicious assault: Rachael Batten was struck several times by her attackers as she lay on the ground. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Vicious assault: Rachael Batten was struck several times by her attackers as she lay on the ground. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A local election candidate was knocked to the ground and beaten with a sweeping brush while taking part in a community clean-up.

Gardaí are investigating the attack on Racheal Batten by two masked young men, which occurred in front of a group of children.

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The Fianna Fáil hopeful told the Irish Independent her attackers were "completely irrational" and did not stop until a man got out of a passing car to help her.

The incident, which took place at Oak Park in Santry, north Dublin, on Sunday afternoon, left her with a broken wrist and soft-tissue injuries.

Ms Batten and a number of residents were cleaning up the area when a young man on a scrambler bike ran a red light and rear-ended a car.

A woman working alongside the Dublin City Council candidate pointed in the direction of the scrambler riders, which she says prompted them to drive towards the group.

"He crashed, got back on the scrambler and came back.

"He started screaming and shouting at us," Ms Batten said.

"He picked up a brush and went running for the lady that was with me. I went to try get the brush off him.

"I got the brush off him but he hit me with one end and pushed me to the side and went after her again."

The first-time candidate says she was hit with the brush handle "several times" while lying on the ground.

Fianna Fáil is currently in the process of trying to regulate the use of scrambler bikes, but Ms Batten said she did not believe there was any link between that and her assault.

"It was completely random and unrelated," she said.

However, the lack of regulation means gardaí will find it difficult to trace the culprits.

Ms Batten said she would not be able to identify the assailants, as they wore masks that covered part of their faces.

She believes they were aged around 16 or 17 and "possibly on something".

The incident lasted for more than 10 minutes. However, no gardaí arrived at the scene, despite two separate 999 calls.

Ms Batten said her group waited for over an hour, but were eventually told to go the local Garda station if they wanted to make a statement.

A Garda spokesperson confirmed they were investigating "a minor assault".

Ms Batten was back on the campaign trail last night in the Whitehall/Artane ward.

"Our gardaí simply aren't resourced to protect our communities and the Justice Minister and the Garda Commissioner need to act now before more innocent people's lives are damaged," she said.

She also echoed comments from Limerick TD Willie O'Dea, who recently suggested parents should be fined or have social welfare payments stopped as a penalty if their children are creating trouble in the community.

Irish Independent

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