A teenager has been arrested following a Friday night assault of three British tourists who were in Dublin to play a friendly game of football.
The three young men, all aged in their 20s, were taken to St James’s Hospital to be treated for injuries after being attacked at Fownes Street Upper in Dublin at about 10pm on Friday.
A teenager was arrested in connection with the assault and robbery of the tourists. He is currently being detained at a Garda station in Dublin City centre under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
The men, who have since been released from hospital, are members of amateur soccer club St John’s Sports from Aylesbury in England.
They had travelled to Dublin to play a friendly match against a team St Kevin’s Football Club in Whitehall. The match, which was due to take place on Saturday afternoon, was cancelled following the Temple Bar incident.
The chairman of St Kevin’s FC, Michael O’Callaghan, said it was an “appalling situation” that was “hard to believe”. He conveyed his best wishes to the young men and their club.
The north Dublin soccer club has played many friendly matches against teams visiting from America and other parts of the world, he said.
“Now we will be telling people to be careful not to into Temple Bar. It is terrible, but you have to be sensible. […] It is an appalling reflection of our society.”
Neil Fox, public relations officer for St Kevin’s, said the English team was shaken after the “terrible ordeal”.
Although the match was cancelled or postponed, St Kevin’s hosted the visiting team at its club on Saturday night and brought them to a local pub, he said. This was to “show them that Ireland is a great place and what happened to them was absolutely disgraceful but it is not all like that”.
As a Dubliner, Mr Fox said he thinks it is “terrible” to see what some tourists face when they come to the city. His football club did its best to “make the guys feel welcome”, so he is hopeful the visitors leave Ireland with some good memories.
Gardaí said investigations into the incident at Fownes Street Upper, at the site of the Central Bank plaza, is ongoing.
Following the incident, there was a visible Garda presence in the area on Saturday afternoon with several officers on patrol.
Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly described the attack as “deeply shocking and totally unacceptable”.
“Dubliners, those who call this city home, tourists and Gardaí, all deserve to be safe in our capital city,” Ms O’Reilly said. She called on Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to increase Garda capacity, adding that “a sticking-plaster approach to policing our capital city will not cut it”.
Gerald Byrne, the manager of the 420 Boxed In vape and mobile phone shop, said the assaults did not surprise him.
“There is always mischief and there is always something happening here,” Mr Byrne said. “We should have a team of security walking around here removing people that should not be in here.”