A young woman has been treated in hospital after she was brutally stabbed in the stomach -- just four days after her boyfriend was beaten with hammers.
Gardai in Bray, Co Wicklow, are on high alert after two separate attacks in the space of five days involving the victim and her boyfriend Joe Moorehouse.
Tammy Berry (27) was approached by four men in a jeep in the Oldcourt Park area of the town at 4.45pm on Wednesday.
The men got out of the vehicle before getting involved in a heated row with the woman, who was then stabbed.
She was taken to St Vincent's Hospital but her injuries are not life-threatening.
Just four days previously, the woman was with her boyfriend, Joe Moorehouse (29) when he was savagely beaten by a gang armed with hammers.
The couple's young son watched on in horror as his father was hit over the head, with up to four men wielding hammers in broad daylight.
He suffered serious head injuries in the attack on the busy Vevay Road.
Speaking after the incident, Mr Moorehouse's mother, Joan, spoke of her horror at the in front of the young child.
"The child was able to tell me that his daddy and mammy had been hurt. This was a coward's act.
"Whoever did this has the work of demons in them."
Security sources have now raised serious concerns about increased tensions between rival factions.
Following Wednesday's stabbing, gardai are on high alert, with opposing groups of youths gathering on two housing estates in the town, Heatherwood and the Oldcourt Park.
According to witnesses, the gangs have armed themselves with slash hooks, baseball bats, hurleys and other weapons and sources believe a serious confrontation is looming .
Local councillor John Brady has appealed for calm, saying that ordinary people in Bray fear the violence is about to escalate.
"I'm appealing for calm. There were serious tensions here on Wednesday night and a number of violent incidents," Cllr Brady told the Herald.
"People are having to put up with this and it really is becoming serious now. It needs to be sorted out, because it cannot continue this way."
Gardai are trying to keep order and have increased patrols in the area -- and will continue to do so over the weekend.
No arrests have yet been made in connection with either assault, and now gardai are appealing for witnesses.