Helen McEntee condemns ‘vicious’ unprovoked attack on US tourist in Dublin

Helen Mcentee Condemns ‘Vicious’ Unprovoked Attack On Us Tourist In Dublin
Helen McEntee said that Dublin is safe in the wake of the attack. Photo: PA
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha and Cillian Sherlock, PA

The Minister for Justice has condemned a “vicious” unprovoked attack on a US tourist, as she and a fellow Cabinet minister stressed that Dublin is safe overall.

Helen McEntee outlined her plan to address concerns people have expressed about safety in the capital in recent weeks, stating that no suggestion was off the table in relation to the recruitment and retention of gardaí.


She said that the approach would include continuing to recruit gardaí, updating equipment and vehicles for the force, investing in community partnerships and investing in young people, which she said would take time to implement.

“I do believe we live in a safe city here, but there will always be problems and of course it is my intention that we address those problems head on,” Ms McEntee said.



Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan Region Angela Willis said the tourist had sustained life-changing injuries.

Ms McEntee said she had not spoken to the tourist following the attack but added she would “hope” to do so.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, who appeared at a press conference at Store Street Garda Station alongside his fellow Fine Gael Cabinet colleague, said he was saddened by the attack on the tourist.


While recognising the “difficulties, challenges” and concerns raised, the Dublin Central TD said that the city centre was “safe, vibrant and diverse”.

Local politicians have warned that parts of the capital are unsafe in the wake of the attack on the US national that has left him seriously injured and receiving treatment in hospital.

The assault comes weeks after a young Ukrainian actor needed stitches after being attacked near the Abbey Theatre, where he was performing in a Kyiv production of Brian Friel’s Translations.

A TD has also claimed that parts of Dublin’s inner city have “elements of lawlessness” to them and the Lord Mayor of Dublin said that more gardaí on the streets would limit the ability for unprovoked attacks to be carried out.


Public representatives have warned that a lack of a garda presence has resulted in open drug taking and dealing on some side streets of Dublin, as well as an increased threat of random assaults.

Dublin Lord Mayor Daithí de Róiste said: “There is an anti-social behaviour problem in the inner city.



“The guards themselves, they do what they can to the very best of their ability, with the resources that they have. But it’s clear we have an issue and it needs to be resourced properly and that comes from a departmental level.”

Responding to the Minister for Justice’s statement on Thursday that there will be 450 garda recruits in training by the end of July and that 420 foot and bike patrols have been launched from the new O’Connell Street Garda Station since it opened, Mr de Róiste asked what net increase those figures represent.

Mr de Róiste, who was elected to the mayoral role three weeks ago, said: “I’m going to be looking to do a lot of drilling down into those figures, particularly in the joint policing committee that we have on Monday with the Assistant Commissioner [Angela Willis].”

Asked whether he feels safe walking through the streets of Dublin, Mr de Róiste said “yes”, but added that “we can do a better job of making people feel safe”.

He said: “High-visibility policing is the key for people to feel safe or the perception to feel safe.

“What we need to do is have more of An Garda Síochána on our streets engaging communities. They’re so hard-pressed, they’re bouncing from call to call to call, and we need the passive policing of having guards on the streets and that makes people feel safer.

“Also, thugs, antisocial-behaviour gangs, whatever which way you want to put it, that are dragging down the name of this great city, they get less freedom to operate with more guards on the streets and with more visibility policing.”

Mr de Róiste also said the use of social media makes it easier to draw attention to attacks in the city, and encouraged people who do share anti-social behaviour incidents to Instagram or Twitter to also report them to gardaí or Dublin City Council so that incidents can be investigated and tracked.

Coronavirus – Sun Aug 23, 2020
Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan called for the garda retirement age to be increased. Photo: PA

Dublin TD Jim O’Callaghan said the retirement age for gardaí should be increased from 60 to 62, and people aged over 35 should be allowed to join the force.

“We have a problem with recruitment,” he told RTÉ radio.

“In fairness to Government, it has provided funding for 1,000 new gardaí this year. Last year we provided funding for 800; we were only able to recruit 300. This year, I’m afraid to say we won’t be able to recruit 1,000 new gardai.”

He said there were fewer than gardaí in Ireland, which was the same number as there had been 20 years ago.

He added: “I think we need to be clear: we’re always going to have some level of criminality in the inner city of all capital cities and major cities.

“The problem here is that there is a perception, and it is a reality, that there is a lawlessness in certain parts of the inner city.

“The only way that is going to be reduced is to have a serious garda presence there.”

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