Wednesday 18 July 2018

'I've been chased and shouted at' - woman claims gangs of youths intimidating cyclists

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Rachel Farrell

A woman who cycles to and from work in Dublin has spoken out about how gangs of youths are intimidating cyclists along the Grand Canal.

Maria (37), who started cycling from her home in Rialto to her job in Parkwest last month, said what she has experienced in the last few weeks has been "horrific".

"I can't believe some of the things I've seen. I've been chased and shouted at, it's horrific," Maria told Independent.ie.

"I've been chased by a group of boys who refused to let me pass and when I did get by they chased me, shouting profanity at me while they did. I was terrified.

"On one journey I cycled pass two separate groups of boys, one called me a 'f**king b**ch', and the next group made some sort of animal noises at me.

"Another journey, a group of boys and girls in a line made it difficult for me to pass even though I asked politely and when I did get by, they shouted at me 'you thick'."

Maria said she chose the canal route because it's safer than the main road, and said she was excited to start cycling to work.

"I was enjoying my cycling to work, and now they're disturbing the peace. I'm not an experienced cyclist so I chose the canal route because it's safer than cycling alongside trucks on the main road.

"But it's become a catch 22 situation now, you either face a busy dangerous road or groups along the canal. My concern is that someone will be seriously harmed by these youths if they are allowed to continue their shocking behaviour."

Local Sinn Fein councillor Greg Kelly said he was "aware" of the situation and had witnessed the situation himself.

"I've witnessed it myself, it's something I'm very aware of," he told Independent.ie.

"There's been an ongoing issue of antisocial behaviour for the last few months in the Bluebell and Drimnagh area of the canal, but it's started to stretch all the way down towards Parkwest."

Cllr Kelly said he has been in contact with local Gardai to solve the issue but believes a bigger Garda presence is needed.

"The Gardai come along and move them along but the problem still remains. The Gardai are doing a great job for what they have but we're noticing a shortage in community Gardai certainly."

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