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08th Jun 2021

Woman calls for greater Gardaí presence after her son was attacked in Bettystown

Clara Kelly

protest Dublin

“He was punched so hard with a rock that the pattern is in his forehead.”

A woman is calling for increased Gardaí presence in her local area after her son and his friends were attacked at Bettystown beach in Meath.

Tania O’Neill said that her son, who is in sixth year, had been attacked while in the company of six or seven friends on Thursday night by a group of 150 teenagers aged between 13-17.

O’Neill claimed that the crowd of 150 girls and boys are not local to the area but spend “all day drinking” at the location.

“Himself and about six or seven pals decided to go down to the beach and get a bit of air, a bit of a break between studying, they literally went down for an hour and were involved in a very vicious, very unprovoked attack on Thursday evening,” she told Joe Duffy on Liveline.

She added that they “just attacked them for no reason whatsoever” saying that one of her son’s friends had been “punched repeatedly” and “punched so hard with a rock that the pattern is in his forehead”.

“Between tipping their heels and tripping them to get them to the ground, it was like 15 to one, he was actually kicked into the head. His friend is actually in a worse state than he is,” she continued.

O’Neill claims the group of around 150 young people have started socialising in the dunes on Bettystown beach, “drinking and doing more” on a regular basis.

“Drinking and doing more, in the dunes, all day, unsupervised. I’m sure their parents hadn’t a clue where they are,” she said.

“They get on the busses and they come up to Bettystown because it’s an easy target at this stage.”

O’Neill is calling for a greater Garda presence in the area to tackle the anti-social behaviour, saying that due to living on the Meath/Louth border, calls to Gardaí are often diverted to Ashbourne Garda Station, which is 33km away.

She is calling for a “fully manned” Garda Station to be put in place in the area to tackle these incidents.

O’Neill said that calls made to Gardaí are often diverted there due to the different divisions, adding that Gardaí then have to “prioritise calls” and that it “can take up to an hour and a half to get to some people”.

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