Residents of Ashbourne in County Meath are “living in constant fear” on foot of a series of terrifying and violent attacks, one local resident has told Gript.
It comes after a horrifying hatchet attack unfolded near a local primary school in the town in broad daylight last Thursday.
Gardaí appealed for witnesses after two men wearing face masks and hats brutally beat a victim while he sat in a grey jeep last Thursday, the Meath Chronicle reported.
The local resident and parent who spoke to us confidentially said that people in the area no longer feel safe, and teenage boys feel they can’t go out in public for fear of being attacked by a specific group of men.
According to the resident who spoke to Gript, the victim was picking up his child from St. Declan’s National School when he was assaulted by two hatchet-wielding men. It happened in a car park on Killegland Road in the town at around 3pm.
The man, aged in his 30s, sustained a number of substantial lacerations to his limbs and received hospital treatment, according to Gardaí, who said his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
His attackers then fled the scene on foot, possibly through a field at the rear of Bourne Avenue, Gardaí believe. Witnesses or anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area at the time have been asked to contact Ashbourne Garda Station on 01-8010600 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
The local parent told us that people in the area have been terrorised by local thugs, and the hatchet incident, carried out in front of school children, is just one in a series of senseless attacks which have taken place over the last 18 months. CCTV images below show children coming out of school just seconds before and as the hatchet attack took place:
“Parents have even taken their children out of the local primary school because of what happened last Thursday,” the parent said.
“None of us feel safe. Teenagers can’t go out in the street anymore. They have been running around terrified for two years”.
The resident said that the local community had heard the violence, perpetrated by a group of men in the area, is related to territory, but this cannot be confirmed at this stage.
“We are just terrified that they are not going to stop. I’ve barely slept in the last week,” the resident said, adding that young men being beaten up, and multiple houses and cars being damaged by thugs in the area has led people to question whether they or their loved ones will be targeted next.
The resident said photos and videos of vicious assaults on young men in the area have been shared across social media platforms. These have been seen by Gript.
Although the violence plaguing the area has been reported to the Gardaí, the resident said many people in the area do not believe enough has been done to put an end to the “terror”.
“We don’t feel like the guards have been doing anything,” the resident said, adding that local people feel as though there is virtually “no support” from local politicians who should be highlighting the violence.
“We believe there is an effort to keep this out of the media, and to keep the place respectable so building projects can continue and houses will continue to be sold. It feels as though they are happy to sacrifice residents to keep Ashbourne respectable”.
“We feel it has been covered over and we have no support from our local politicians who should be supporting us. We believe they are trying to keep the place respectable to continue to sell houses and keep building projects open. Happy to sacrifice residents to keep the place respectable”.
The resident said that the community is still reeling after a separate incident unfolded at a secondary school in the area shortly before the hatchet attack last week, allegedly involving a knife and a hammer.
Messages seen by Gript detail how a man walked into the school’s reception with a knife and a hammer. The individual chased two pupils, and a vicious fight ensued, leaving one teacher with “bloody knuckles” and staff terrified.
The school in question has been contacted for comment but no response was received at the time of publication.
It has been claimed that a verbal fight between two students the day before was what caused the attack, with an older brother of one of the pupils paying a visit to the school in retaliation, the resident said. According to the source, the incident at the school is linked to the hatchet attack last week.
The local resident and parent told Gript that those responsible for the ongoing attacks are from the travelling community. While this has not been confirmed, similar speculation has emerged on social media, with others speaking out about the violence taking place in the town and those allegedly responsible.
In one local community group on Facebook, one resident spoke of three men, believed to be from the travelling community, “going around terrorising teenagers in the town”.
“They are responsible for smashing up property on a number of occasions, dishing out beatings to children,” he alleged. He said that those involved are letting their families down, as he urged parents: “Please be aware. Watch your children. Contact the police and local politicians”.
“All the victims and people of this town need to stand together,” the resident said in the Noticeboard group.
Gript contacted the Gardaí for comment. In a statement, the Gardaí Press Office said:
“Gardaí are investigating an assault which occurred near a commercial premises in Ashbourne, Co. Meath at approximately 3pm on Thursday, 10th of November 2022.
A man (30s) was taken to Blanchardstown Hospital for treatment. There have been no arrests at this time. Investigations are ongoing”.