Alert after driver tries to abduct two girls

By Claire Murphy

PARENTS in a North Dublin suburb are being urged to be vigilant following the attempted abduction of two young girls.

A man in a dark car offered two girls a lift to a nearby playground in the north Dublin suburb of Swords.

The man, aged between 25 and 35, had dark, slicked-back hair and was dressed in a suit, according to witnesses.

He pulled up in the Ridgewood estate in a car which was described as being similar to a Volkswagen or a BMW with silver detailing.

But the quick-thinking children, aged seven and eight, ran away from the man and refused to get into the vehicle.

Garda sources said that a charcoal black car was spotted in the area on April 26.

The children have since met with gardai and given a description of the man.

An apparent second abduction attmept was reported in the Knocksedan area on Thursday April 29, but gardai confirmed that it was a false alarm.

Cllr Anne Devitt (Fine Gael) told the Herald that parents in the area need to be on the alert.

"It's a timely reminder that we have to be vigilant with our children," she said.

"It's unfortunate at a time when we are trying to encourage children to walk to school," she added.

But she said that the children should be commended for being wise and their parents for good training.

Cllr Devitt said that a number of schools have now organised a 'walking bus' for school children.

The idea is that parents supervise a group of young children, who hold onto a rope, on the walk into school.

Cllr Devitt said that this was first piloted in Donabate.

"You still have to encourage the independence of children," she said. "It's a safe way of getting to school with all the worries of traffic and strangers and it's sociable for parents and for the children."

A number of schools have now issued warning letters to every home and teachers have revised the safety programme with each class, particularly with the advent of summer and good weather.