Gardaí investigating an alleged sexual attack, that some far right commentators have attributed to foreign nationals, are working on a definite line of inquiry. A man is alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman on a street in Finglas, north Dublin, last week.
Online speculation suggested a group of black men or foreign nationals attacked the victim in the Cappagh Road area. However, Garda sources told The Irish Times the person of interest in the case is a white Irishman.
Separately, on Wednesday Garda Headquarters took the unusual step of saying it was “aware of a significant volume of misinformation and disinformation in circulation” about the alleged sexual attack and the ongoing Garda inquiry.
It stressed the investigation team at Finglas Garda station was now working on a definite line of inquiry, adding gardaí were “not looking for anyone else at this time”.
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Garda sources said no foreign national, black man or international protection applicant was ever a suspect for last Friday’s alleged sexual attack. Gardaí in Finglas, and their colleagues from some national units, were due to carry out a policing operation in Finglas during an anti-immigration protest there on Wednesday evening.
While the protests held in Finglas in recent weeks have passed off without incident, one of the most vocal anti-immigration figures from the area was arrested on Wednesday morning. His arrest relates to suspicions his anti-immigration comments, and other remarks challenging Garda members, meet the threshold of a criminal offence.
Garda sources fear his arrest, coupled with an attack on foreign men in nearby Ashtown last weekend – after the alleged sexual assault on Friday morning – may ratchet up tensions at the protest on Wednesday evening.
On Saturday afternoon several European homeless men were at their makeshift camp in Ashtown, neighbouring Finglas, when a group of men arrived, making threats and carrying out an alleged physical assault. A criminal investigation into that alleged assault is now under way. Detectives strongly suspect the violent incident at the camp was a revenge attack prompted by the alleged sexual assault of the woman in the nearby Cappagh area the previous day.
Gardaí believe the men who attacked the camp on Saturday did so based on unfounded rumours suggesting foreign men, or black men, had attacked the woman, even though that has now been completely ruled out. The only man who stands accused by the woman of sexual assault is white and Irish.
On Wednesday gardaí issued a public appeal for information as part of their ongoing investigation into the alleged sexual attack. They are urging a taxi driver who picked up a man and a woman in the early hours of last Friday morning to come forward.
The Garda appeal states the passengers picked up by the taxi driver at about 1.30am in Dublin’s south inner city were “a white man and white woman”. The man and woman were taken by the driver to Cappagh Road, where they were dropped off and where the sexual assault is alleged to have taken place.
The Garda added the taxi driver is believed to have driven from the south inner city to Cappagh Road via the industrial estate in Ballycoolin. They are urging the driver to come forward and for anyone else with information on the case, or who may have seen the man and woman in the early hours of last Friday morning, to contact gardaí in Finglas.
The man and woman who travelled as passengers in the taxi were described as being in their 20s. The woman had “blonde hair and was wearing high boots, a pink blazer and a black jacket”. The man was described as being of “average height and build and was wearing a red top with blue jeans”.