Saturday 24 August 2019

'Disgraceful' attack on Italian students by gang condemned by TD

Ken Phelan

Gardai are investigating the alleged assault of a number of Italian students in Portmarnock last week by a 'well-known' gang of teenagers and youths, in what one local TD has described as being a 'disgraceful' attack.

The group of around ten students were set upon by the gang of up to fifteen youths at around 9pm on Wednesday July 31 as they left Dunnes Stores in Portmarnock.

The students were attacked and physically assaulted before the gang stole their belongings and left the scene.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O'Brien, speaking of the incident said: 'The idea that students studying here are targeted by a bunch of thugs is just disgraceful. It gives the great area of Fingal and Portmarnock a bad name it doesn't deserve.

'For anyone to be attacked is completely unacceptable but the added impact of young visiting students to be assaulted by a bunch of thugs is just beyond words.

'I'm in touch with the gardai and the inspector about this, and people have been in contact with me and are very concerned about it too. There were a couple of incidents a couple of weeks ago where local kids were robbed as well.'

Deputy O'Brien said the gardai were 'well aware' of the problem and have been trying to address it, adding that they can't stop these incidents 'all the time.'

The gang were 'well-known' in the Fingal area, he said, adding there was 'parental responsibility' with regard to these youths, whose parents should be 'held responsible as well.'

'I will be calling further public meetings to continue pressure to get the Gardaí we need and to have our station returned to 24/7. It was a terrible decision to change the station to part time and it needs to be reversed', Deputy O'Brien concluded.

The Portmarnock attack follows closely after a similar incident in Skerries earlier this month where a 12-year-old girl is alleged to have been set upon by a gang of teenage boys and punched by one of them, leading to 'severe inflammation' on the young girl's face.

Three of the gang were on bicycles and surrounded the young girl in Skerries as she was walking near Tennis Court Lane.

Witnesses say the gang were all in their late teens.

The local girl was simply walking to the shops, minding her own business when the horrifying attack occurred.

It is not known if the attacks are connected.

Fingal Independent