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Sunday 22 September 2019

'He may have been watching from the bushes' - mum of young woman stabbed at isolated bus stop

Gwen Jackson with her daughter Alice Ridsdale-Dooner (20)
Gwen Jackson with her daughter Alice Ridsdale-Dooner (20)

Louise Walsh

A petition to relocate a West Dublin bus stop has been supported by the mum of a young Co. Meath woman, who was stabbed during a mugging on Saturday evening.

The victim's mum Gwen Jackson, who has spoken out in an effort to highlight the ongoing problems at the bus stop, said her daughter was left traumatised by the attack.

Alice Ridsdale-Dooner (20) was waiting at the bus stop, which is on a slip way, for the 105 bus home to Ratoath from Blanchardstown when a man jumped from the bushes around 8pm.

"She had just been at the cinema with a friend who got the 109 bus home from the same stop moments earlier," said Gwen.

"A young man wearing a grey hoodie and a bandana came out of the bushes, grabbed her and threatened her with what looked like a bread knife.

"He said he would stab her if she didn't give him her bag so she did, but he knew somehow that she had her phone in her pocket and demanded that too. 

Gardai investigate an incident at a bus stop in Blanchardstown on Saturday night. Picture: Arthur Carron.
Gardai investigate an incident at a bus stop in Blanchardstown on Saturday night. Picture: Arthur Carron.

"He may have been watching from the bushes and saw her put it away.

"In the struggle for her phone, he cut her hand and then ran off when two local girls came along to help her.

"The bus was coming up the slip way too at the time. The two young girls, also from Ratoath, sat with her on the bus to make sure she was okay and brought her home right to the door.

"I'm so glad the girls came along when they did as it may have been worse...

"The bus driver did ask her if she wanted him to stop at a garda station but she just wanted to go home.

"She's very upset and traumatised by it all. It's an open wound on her hand but it's okay".

Gwen rang both Blanchardstown and Ashbourne gardai on Saturday evening and officially reported the incident at Blanchardstown on Sunday.

She also says she reported the attack to Bus Éireann this morning.

Gwen is urging everyone to sign the petition. It was started six months ago in an effort to get the bus stop relocated and has already been signed by 2,000 people.

"It's so dangerous there. The bus stop is so badly lit up and isolated from anywhere.

"It's a stop that is used by a lot of students who commute to Blanchardstown from Meath and Louth"

The bus stop serves the 105 bus for Ashbourne,  Ratoath and Drogheda while the 109 goes to Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells.

Chair of the East Meath and North Dublin Bus Users Association Andrew Ralph has been campaigning to get the bus stop moved for a number of months.

"In March 2016, Bus Eireann decided to change the bus routes without any consultation with the public and moved this bus stop to a slip road which has no shelter, security or CCT, is dimly lit and waiting passengers are sitting ducks for crime," he said.

"Most of the waiting passengers are either senior citizens or young people who have to walk up to 20 minutes to get to it. 

"Over the months, a number of women have contacted me to say that that men have pulled up at the bus stop and tried to coerce them to get into their cars.

"There are huge safety issues here and you can't even see the bus stop at night, it's so badly lit up," he continued.

"Bus Eireann have to sit up and take note of the dangers that the location of this bus stop poses.  It has been raised with Bus Éireann representatives at two public meetings in the last ten months.

"Just a few months ago, a number of teens were mugged near the stop on their way to catch a bus home in mid-July."

The petition can be accessed here.

In a statement, Bus Eireann said: "Bus Éireann northbound routes out Dublin do not service Blanchardstown SC, due to major congestion issues there, and the majority of customers on-board are travelling further to destinations in Meath or Louth and beyond.

"We do have a pick-up stop on the slipway road to service the area, and also ensure overall journey time reliability. Bus stop locations are also overseen by the NTA & local authorities. Lighting in public areas such as bus stops is provided by local authorities.

"The Gardaí are responsible for dealing with anti-social behaviour nationwide and the company co-operate if any incidents arise across the network."

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