Four child abduction attempts in just a week

TERROR: Driver tried to grab girl's arm in latest attack

Conor Feehan

GARDAI in Swords are investigating four attempted abductions of children in the past week.

The cases all involved inappropriate approaches towards children being made by men in the north Co Dublin town.

The latest incident involved a man who blocked a footpath with his car and tried to grab young girls last Thursday.

The teenagers were walking in the Swords Manor area of the town when a man -- described as a foreign national -- attempted to pull a 14-year-old into the vehicle.

"The girl was walking Swords Manor when the man in a dark Nissan Micra pulled across the footpath and opened the door," said a member of the victim's family, who spoke to the Herald.

"He said something to her about her being 'beautiful' and told her to get into the car, but she screamed and he tried to grab her arm.

"Thankfully she got away and told us what had happened," they added.

"This guy was wearing a baseball cap with the peak pulled down over his eyes, and his car was an old model Micra," said the source.

Gardai have confirmed to the Herald that the incident from Thursday is under investigation.

The family said they were told by gardai that there were three similar incidents reported in the River Valley area of Swords in recent days. It is unclear at this point if the same men are behind all of the incidents.

The Swords reports follow an incident in nearby Donabate last week when children playing on a green area of a housing estate were approached by a man.

Parents have been urged to remain calm following the incident but also to be vigilant.

In relation to the Donabate case, gardai stressed that there was "no attempted abduction".

"We are investigating an incident that occurred on Wednesday, April 20, when people were noticed in a van, acting suspiciously.

"There is no need for panic. The facts are that suspicious comments were made by a person in the van."

Gardai said the incident provoked panic.

Residents of the Links estate have seen a flurry of texts being exchanged.

Gardai from Swords, who are investigating the Donabate incident, have increased their presence in the area's estates and are on the lookout for the van and its occupants.

It is understood CCTV footage from local businesses is being checked in the hope that it will identify the people involved.