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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020
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Gardaí confirm extra patrols along parts of Grand Canal after recent assaults

Gardaí said these beats around Inchicore and Bluebell will continue in the run up to Christmas.

GARDAÍ HAVE SAID there will be “increased visibility” on the streets in and around the Grand Canal near Inchicore, Bluebell and Drimnagh in the run up to Christmas after a number of recent assaults and instances of anti-social behaviour.

This month, two Dublin cyclists spoke out after they were attacked by teenagers with metal bars along the Grand Canal cycle path at Bluebell.

A garda spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that additional patrols are in place along the canal by officers from Kilmainham Garda Station following the recent incidents.

“These patrols are part of a high visibility campaign in the run up to Christmas and are focused along the Grand Canal, Inchicore, Bluebell as well as Rialto and Dolphin’s Barn,” the spokesperson said.

Yaman Umuroğlu, one of the men who was recently attacked, told RTÉ’s Liveline last week the attack happened along the cycle route approaching the Blackhorse Luas stop. He said he was set upon when he slowed to approach a squeeze stile that requires cyclists to dismount.

“So there was four or five 13 or 14-year-old teenagers waiting for me there with metal rods,” he said. “And first I thought they weren’t going to give me any trouble because I’ve seen kids like that hanging around there before.

So I just approached them thinking that they would just go away, but then they started beating with metal sticks and wanted my bike. They got my bike in the end and I hobbled on the Blackhorse Luas stop while calling the gardaí.  

Liam Molloy, another of those who was attacked, said he was also stopped by a group of teenagers in the same area.

“And they were hitting me with the metal bars and with a few punches,” he told Liveline.

“They were really trying to hurt me,” he added. “And one of the hits actually got very, very low on my helmet. If it had been a matter of centimetres lower it could have reached my actual skull. So I was very, very lucky.”

Colm Ryder, chair of cyclist advocacy group Cyclist.ie, told TheJournal.ie that the extra patrols were welcome and that cyclists would welcome “proactive” measures from the gardaí to deter assaults and anti-social behaviour.

“There are CCTV facilities along that route,” he said. “Are gardaí in a local station looking at these spots, seeing potential issues and saying ‘let’s go down there’?”

Ryder said that having extra gardaí visible in the area would be useful as a reminder to those who may be committing this anti-social behaviour but more needed to be done to protect road users.

“A cyclist could be targeted because they have a good bike,” he said. “And these barriers they have to go through. It slows them down… And some of these gates cyclists go through around south Dublin are actually helping people who want to engage in anti-social behaviour.”

On social media at the weekend, the Garda Info account shared a photograph of an officer assisting a member of the community.

“A garda member attached to Kilmainham Garda Station carrying out high visibility beats along the Grand Canal in Inchicore and surrounding areas today, and these beats will continue in the run up to Christmas,” it said. 

A garda spokesperson also confirmed that “high visibility” patrols will remain in place.

“As part of Operation ‘Open City’, which is currently ongoing, and in response to a number of recent incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour, visibility of An Garda Síochána will be increased across Dublin including the Canal/Bluebell area,” a spokesperson said.

“An Garda Síochána encourages anyone who feels they have been a victim of a crime to contact their local Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.”

A spokesperson for the Luas also confirmed that any instances of anti-social behaviour witnessed by staff on or near its trams is reported to gardaí.

“Luas staff at all times of the year across the Green and Red Lines will always report to Luas Control Room incidents of anti-social behaviour that they witness on or near the Luas network,” the spokesperson said. “Luas Control report to the Gardaí all incidents reported and request assistance if required.”

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Sean Murray

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