Bottle attack tourist calls for more patrols as assault condemned
As a violent attack on a tourist in Dublin was roundly condemned, the victim has called for more patrols on the streets.
Dafydd Hughes (45) received a serious injury to his scalp in an unprovoked attack with a broken bottle in Dublin city centre.
His children Logan (11) and Joe (17) witnessed the attack by a drunken young man as the family waited at a bus stop for a tour bus on their weekend trip to the capital. They have since gone on to continue their holiday in Co Donegal.
Mr Hughes, a Welsh native living in Cheltenham in England, told the Herald he would like to see more uniformed gardai on the beat in Dublin.
"The police were very helpful to me, but I think it would be reassuring for visitors and locals if there were a more visible police presence and more CCTV cameras," he said.
"I've visited Dublin seven or eight times - there was never any trouble. But it's not right that a man can feel free to walk around with a bottle threatening to gouge people's eyes out," he said.
"I put on a brave face after the attack for the sake of my children, but I had trouble sleeping afterwards when I began to think how much worse it could have been.
"He could have struck me in the face or the eye with the broken bottle. It's just as well I'm a big, strong guy who played rugby in the past and I was able to hold him down.
"But what if he had attacked a tourist who was not as well able to defend himself?" he added.
"I know the same thing could have happened in Cheltenham, where I live, or anywhere. I still believe Ireland is a friendly place and I've had several cycling holidays in Wexford, Cork and Waterford," he added.
A man was later arrested in relation to the attack.
Dublin's Lord Mayor, Criona Ni Dhalaigh, said any attack on a person in the city "is something that we cannot tolerate".
"We need to ensure that citizens, tourists, anybody who is in the city centre actually feels safe - and are safe.
"If that involves additional resources then we need to ask for additional resources."
Failte Ireland spokesperson, Alex Connolly, said that: "There is absolutely no way this attack is representative of the experience most visitors get when they come to this country.
"It's highly regrettable and absolutely disgraceful. I'm very pleased to hear that Mr Hughes has not changed his view that the Irish people are very friendly. We are sorry to hear about Mr Hughes' unfortunate experience and we hope he is now okay and enjoys the rest of his holiday."
Mr Connolly said that, in such cases, tourism services and gardai put visitors in touch with the Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) where necessary. Failte Ireland is a major funder of ITAS, which provides a specialist service offering immediate support and assistance to tourists who are victimised while visiting Ireland.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Tourism, and Sport said the attack was "dreadful", but added: "Around 95pc of overseas visitors consider Ireland to be safe and secure."