Gardaí investigating an attack on two young people in west Dublin suspect the female victim had been harassed over a prolonged period by members of the group that carried out the attack.
Alanna Quinn Idris (17) was left with severe facial injuries - including a ruptured eyeball, broken bones to her cheek and eye socket as well as broken teeth - during the attack in Ballyfermot on the night of Thursday last, December 30th. A male friend she was with at the time was also assaulted and suffered knife injuries.
While Alanna has undergone surgery, her family has been told there is a 90 per cent chance she will lose the sight in her right eye, which may have to be removed.
She was taken from the scene of the attack to St James’s Hospital but was transferred in the early hours of Friday morning to the Dublin Eye and Ear Hospital where she remained on Monday.
Alanna’s mother, Jamie, told The Irish Times while her daughter had been trying to stay positive and present a “front, where she is so strong” she became very upset when she saw the extent of her eye injury after a dressing was removed by medical staff as they examined it as they feared it was becoming infected.
“Alanna got to see her eyeball and that didn’t go well at all. She was really, really upset. I think she was holding out hope, quietly and to herself, that she would see again. But after she saw the eye, she was saying she was never going to see again and that she was going to look so strange.
“The doctors were hopeful they could repair the eye to the point where it looked somewhat normal. If not, they would remove the eye and then we would go down the road of prosthesis. Alanna had the surgery last Friday morning, they were able to do a repair but the doctor told us she didn’t know if it would heal. She couldn’t give any guarantees.”
Ms Quinn paid tribute to her daughter's male friend, who was with her at the time, saying he had tried to protect her but was himself stabbed. She added a local man had also intervened as her daughter was being kicked, punched and beaten with implements her attackers were carrying.
The attack occurred near Ballyfermot Civic Centre at about 9.30pm and was carried out by a group of four men who were armed with a hurley stick, a saddle and seat post from an electric scooter and a knife.
It appears Ms Quinn and the young man she was with exchanged words with one man on a bus journey to Ballyfermot. While Alanna was the target of the initial verbal abuse, her male friend defended her. When they got off the bus that exchange continued and other men arrived onto the scene, at which point the attack became physical.
One aspect of the Garda investigation is based on telephone records in a bid to determine if the man on the bus called friends to meet him in Ballyfermot so they could carry out a group attack on Alanna and her friend.
A local man who was out walking came to the aid of the two victims. That intervention appears to have brought the attack to an end and the attackers fled the scene. Ms Quinn said while her daughter’s injuries had been focused on by the media, the young man she was with suffered multiple knife wounds and faced a long recovery.
She said she was very thankful to him and to bystanders who intervened as they did what they could for her daughter as she was being attacked. Ms Quinn added her daughter had been “tormented and harassed” by a large “group of young lads” from the Ballyfermot area since she was about 12 years old.
While this abuse had been mostly verbal, she had also had eggs thrown at her as well as cans of drink. Ms Quinn said her daughter, who is mixed race, did not believe there was a race-based element to the abuse.
Gardaí confirmed they were investigating an assault that occurred on Ballyfermot Road, Dublin 10, at about 9.30pm last Thursday and appealed for witnesses. They added a “female juvenile in her late teens” had been hospitalised due to her injuries.
They appealed for anyone who witnessed the attack to come forward and for anyone with footage, including dashcam recordings, to come forward and supply it to investigating gardaí at Ballyfermot station. No arrests have been made and Garda sources said CCTV images recorded on the bus, and in the general area of the attack, had been gathered up.
A GoFundMe page has been established in a bid to help Alanna and the injured man, with over €16,000 raised early on Monday morning, well in excess of the targeted €5,000.
On that fundraising page Alanna has written a post thanking those who set up the fundraising effort and also expressing gratitude to those who have donated.
“I’ve been absolutely showered with love and support by so many kind hearts,” she said of the many messages she had received since the attack took place. “Throughout this whole experience I’ve tried my best to maintain a positive attitude and just be appreciative of the fact that both me and Louis are still here alive and safe,” she said, adding she had “finally accepted” she would likely lose her eye.