Dublin attack: McEntee vows response to ‘thuggery’ after tourist’s life-changing injuries

Criminality ‘has become normalised in Dublin’, says Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said a 'tough and firm response' would 'send out the message that we will not tolerate this thuggery on our streets'. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has promised a response to “thuggery in our streets” following an attack on a US tourist in Dublin city centre which left him with life-changing injuries.

Ms McEntee made the comments following widespread criticism over a lack of Garda numbers in Dublin, including from her Government colleague Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan, who said criminality “has become normalised in Dublin”.

The 57-year-old victim had just left his accommodation in the Celt Lodge guesthouse on Talbot Street in Dublin’s north inner city, where he had been socialising, and was walking to another pub when he encountered a group of youths.

Words were exchanged before the gang started kicking and punching the victim, including as he lay on the ground, in what sources described as an “entirely unprovoked” attack.


The attack occurred about 100m from Store Street Garda station.

The man was taken to Beaumont Hospital where he is being treated in intensive care. Doctors believe he received a number of kicks to the head. A source described his injuries as “life-changing but not life-threatening”.

Gardaí are confident they have identified at least one the three attackers. The gang, believed to live in the local area, is suspected of being involved in other recent assaults in the area.

Anthony Moore, a barman at the Celt, said he was familiar with the victim, saying he was a regular visitor to Ireland and would stay for a month at a time once a year. He described the victim as “a gentleman, a really nice guy”.

The attack occurred three weeks after a 23-year-old Ukrainian actor was attacked, glassed and bitten a few hundred metres away after acting in a play in the Abbey Theatre.

Ms McEntee condemned the latest attack “in the strongest terms” and said she had been in contact with the Garda about the incident. “A tough and firm response will send out the message that we will not tolerate this thuggery on our streets,” she said.

Business owners on Talbot Street spoke of chronic problems in the area, with antisocial behaviour going unchecked. “You walk from here to O’Connell Bridge and you won’t see a guard once,” said Shane Murray, owner of World-Link Print at the intersection of Talbot and Gardiner Street. “It’s the worst it has been.”

Mr O’Callaghan said there was a “sinister atmosphere” in the city centre where “criminality has become normalised”.

He said the Government needed to immediately bring in innovative methods to recruit more gardaí.

A spokesman for Ms McEntee said recruitment was being stepped up after a “Covid-enforced pause”.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher is an Irish Times journalist