'There is a genuine fear among locals' - Investigation launched into sexual assault by phoney taxi driver
GARDAÍ are investigating the alleged sexual assault of a woman by someone who is believed to have pretended to be a taxi driver.
The attack reportedly happened in the early hours of Saturday at Sutton Cross, near Howth.
According to local reports, the woman was assaulted by someone acting falsely as a taxi driver. It is understood that the area was cordoned off until noon on Sunday.
Cllr Jimmy Guerin confirmed that a car involved was marked as a taxi. The Independent Councillor said that locals were now fearful that other perpetrators may act as taxi drivers to lure in victims.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
"It did have a taxi sign. That's my information, it had the markings of a taxi," he said.
"It is a genuine cause for worry because people getting into taxis feel like they're safe and this puts a question mark on that. It means people will be more reluctant to user taxis.
"Speaking with locals, there is a genuine fear among residents of Howth, Malahide, Portmarnock and Sutton, who are aware of the incident because they saw the large garda presence on the Howth road last week."
Mr Guerin called for more garda enforcement and checks around the validity of taxi drivers this Christmas period.
"If they don't increase garda patrols that there could be a repeat of this, especially coming up to the Christmas period," he said.
"What it means is that there is obviously a need to step up, both between the carriage office and the gardaí, so that any taxi drivers on the street are fully authorised. Especially coming up to the Christmas period when so many young people will be out.
"I'd be extremely concerned. I know people are worried about guys working on the weekends as a taxi driver and taking the risk of being caught because there is no real deterrent, so I'm extremely worried."
Gardaí confirmed that there is an investigation into a sexual assault near Howth, and appealed for anyone who may be a witness to come forward with any information they have.
"Gardaí are investigating a sexual assault that is reported to have occurred in the Sutton Cross area near Howth, in the early hours of Saturday November 23," a spokesperson told Independent.ie.
"Gardaí are appealing for anyone who may have information, particularly anyone who may have travelled on the Dublin Road, Sutton, Dublin 13 between 3.30am and 4.10am, who observed any suspicious behaviour.
"Also, any road users in the area who may have camera footage should contact Raheny Garda Station on 01 666 4300, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station."