Tuesday 26 March 2019

'They beat me with a baseball bat' - Deliveroo man leaves Ireland following vicious assault

  • Drivers to protest after spate of recent attacks
  • Gardai investigating after youths threw eggs and a bike at Deliveroo cyclists in Dublin city centre
The vest that Neto (30) was wearing during the assault.
The vest that Neto (30) was wearing during the assault.
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

A DELIVERY man who had been living in Dublin for seven months has returned home to Brazil after suffering a broken nose in a violent attack.

Francisco Teruliano de Oliviera Neto, known as 'Neto', has spoken about his injuries after footage of a separate incident involving an assault on Deliveroo cyclists emerged on social media.

The video shows a group of young men throwing eggs, and then a bike, at the delivery men on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street on Wednesday.

One witness said she was horrified by what she saw when she came upon the group of men throwing items at the riders.

“I was in shock. We were telling them to please, stop fighting,” she told Independent.ie.

Gardai confirmed to Independent.ie that they are investigating the incident and that a man in his 40s was arrested.

The footage has sparked outrage among the Brazilian and wider foreign-language student community in Dublin, who say it is their “daily reality”.

Neto (30) was a victim of a similar alleged assault in Dublin last weekend, in which his nose was broken and he suffered various head and limb injuries.

Neto had been working for Deliveroo for five months, but never had any negative experiences with customers until then.

He was delivering an order to Tolka Valley Park in Finglas when he was attacked by a group “as large as 11 men” from behind.

“When I arrived there the customer's phone number was wrong, so I called the support line. I was then surprised by several men, who appeared to be between 17 and 19 years old," Neto told Independent.ie.

“They got out of the bushes and attacked me from behind, knocked me over with what seemed to be a baseball bat. I was wearing a helmet but after the blow, which hit me to the ground, they started to hit me all over the body, kicks and punches.

“Some of the boys took my phone and the bike, others started to take my wallet in my back pocket, some people passed the avenue and did nothing to stop them.”

Neto reported the incident to gardai and was taken to hospital, where a doctor confirmed that his nose was broken.

Neto then decided to fly home to Brazil for treatment.

“I always enjoyed working as a rider, because I can make my schedules and I can organise my time for studies. I never had a similar situation working as a rider, I only heard stories,” he said.

A spokesperson for Deliveroo said that they were aware of the incident on Westmoreland Street this week.

“We are aware of this incident and we are investigating. Riders work hard to bring customers amazing meals and should be able to do so without being subject to harassment or threats of violence,” a spokesperson told Independent.ie.

In a letter sent to staff, seen by Independent.ie, Deliveroo advised riders to only work in areas that they feel safe in.

“We’ve received some extremely concerning reports about an incident that took place last night on Westmoreland St, where delivery riders from Deliveroo and other companies were targeted and attacked by a passing group. It’s never acceptable to have your safety threatened,” the letter reads.

“We take reports about safety extremely seriously and will do everything we can to protect you from having your property stolen or from being attacked. We’ve reached out to an Garda Siochana to highlight these concerns and will be working to assist their investigations.

“If you have concerns about an area do not work there. If you do not feel safe delivering to a certain area you do not need to deliver there. Your safety is our priority, so if you feel unsafe contact the team to discuss other areas available to work in.”

Alan, another Deliveroo driver from Dublin, said he has been attacked three times while working.

"I was lucky to get away each time... one time I was going along the quays and a guy dragged me by the jacket at the chest and tried to grab me off the bike," he told RTÉ Radio One's Liveline.

"Another time I was on York Street near St Stephen's Green, close to the flats there, and there was a guy who threw a firework at me on Halloween night and it whizzed past my face.

When asked if people are doing it for financial gain, or a "bit of craic," Alan said he thinks it's a "bit of both".

"I know people who have been threatened with knives as people were after cash even though we don't have much cash... do they really think customers are tipping that much?"

Drivers are organising a demonstration for next Saturday in response to the assaults.

They are protesting against violence towards immigrants, xenophobia and the stealing of bikes and motorbikes. 

“We are going to change it once and for all, we only want to live in peace,” a spokesperson said.

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