Saturday 24 March 2018

'Businessmen' thugs hunted after unprovoked assault in Dublin city centre

Grafton Street. Inset: One of the men who gardaí are looking to speak with
Grafton Street. Inset: One of the men who gardaí are looking to speak with
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Gardaí are hunting a group of ‘well-dressed’ thugs who launched an unprovoked attack on another man during a row over a rickshaw.

The innocent victim was set upon and badly beaten in the early hours of last Saturday morning on Dublin’s Grafton Street.

An eye-witness told that the man was wrestled to the ground by a group of three men, dressed in suits, before he was kicked in the head a number of times.

The witness said the incident unfolded at 12.30am: “These men were utter scum and I don’t want this to go away as it was a random attack that could have been on any of us. It left an innocent man in hospital.”

The witness explained that the row erupted when the three men attempted to board a rickshaw on Dublin’s Grafton Street.

He said the three men became aggressive with the driver and “seemed to be looking for a fight”.

One of the men who gardaí are looking to speak with in connection with the incident
One of the men who gardaí are looking to speak with in connection with the incident

The victim began to take pictures of the trio who then turned on him.

“I noticed three men wrestling with a man. I originally thought it was friends having fun.

"But one man fell to the ground and the three tried to punch him while he was falling. When he was on the ground the three started to kick him in the head.

“After about ten seconds two men ran over to intervene with the three men sprinting away towards Harcourt street.”

The witness described the attackers as "being dressed like businessmen".

He said he called gardaí and an ambulance.

“After this I examined the man to make sure he was not badly hurt. No bones were broken, but he was quite bruised on his chin and temples with obvious marks.

“He seemed to be completely sober. After waiting for about 20 minutes for the garda, the man got very weak, his head injury was getting worse, so we sat him down.”

He said that by the time emergency services had arrived the man was “struggling to stand”.

“I got a text the next day off the man saying who has no permanent injuries but has bad headaches since and groggy.”

A garda spokesman confirmed that they are investigating the incident and have appealed for anyone with information to contact Pearse Street station.

News of this attack came just 24 hours after we revealed how a tourist was left bleeding from his mouth following an assault on the same street.

On Wednesday night a large group of teenage boys started shouting and attacking four tourists on Grafton Street.

“It was a savage attack. There was a huge group of young teenagers who were shouting and then they sped off on their bikes," the eye-witness said.

“There were four foreigners, two boys and two girls and one was bleeding from his mouth as the girls watched in hysterics.

“His backpack was torn and it looked as though he had fought off the teenagers from robbing him and was hit."

Yesterday Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan confirmed that there there had been a spike in night-time attacks linked to the improved economy.

The number of attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassment and related offences increased by more than 1,000 in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2015.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said the rise was not unexpected.

"There are a number of areas, I wouldn't say we are concerned about, we are actually not surprised. We had more or less predicted that they would be there," she said.

"I think ... when we say we are not surprised we have various trends and patterns that we identify over time, so actually this increase in assaults is following a trend that we had identified."

The Commissioner said Operation Thor, which was set up to tackle the deepening concern about burglaries, could be adapted to try to combat assaults and incidents on the streets at night.

Gurchand Singh, head of the Garda's analysis service, said the increase was directly related to busier streets at night as the economy improves and follows a fall in the same category from 2008-2011.

"As the night-time economy has begun to re-emerge we have seen assaults beginning to increase again. This is something that we spotted a few months ago, more than a few months ago," he said.

"We have good successes in terms of burglaries, we have had good successes in terms of thefts. Assaults are the one we have got our eye on now."

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