herald

Sunday 25 August 2019

Villagers tell of shock over alleged 'vile' sex assaults on three girls

Gardai at the scene in Courtown, Co Wexford, where the alleged sex assaults took place
Gardai at the scene in Courtown, Co Wexford, where the alleged sex assaults took place

Residents have spoken of their horror after three teenage girls were allegedly sexually assaulted by a group of up to five boys last weekend.

One girl was said to have been held down by a male teenager while his friend raped her.

The two other girls say they were sexually assaulted in the seaside village of Courtown, Co Wexford, just after midnight last Sunday.

Gardai have established the names of some of the teenage boys they want to interview over the alleged sexual assaults of the teenage girls from the Dublin area.

Frightening

Officers have visited locations in Kilkenny and Wexford as part of the investigation.

The focus on the seaside village has increased since the alleged incident.

Imelda Willoughby, manager of the Taravie Hotel, said she was shocked.

"We're a little family-run hotel. My mother-in-law has had it for 40 years and you'd have lots of people around," she said.

"But there'd never be anything major like that. It's frightening for people. And we depend on tourism and that'll get out and it gives the place a bad name.

"Hopefully it'll be cleared up and all brought to light."

Janet Redmond, manager of Brooks supermarket, also echoed the concern for tourism in the area.

"We just kind of hope it doesn't have a knock-on effect in the area- that it deters people, thinking it's a rough place," she said.

The seaside village is traditionally popular with tourists from Dublin, Carlow, Kilkenny, and north Wicklow, and has a range of caravan sites and tourist amenities.

Local Fine Gael councillor Anthony Donohoe called the alleged incident "vile" and said the area "came up a lot" in council meetings. He said there were many antisocial people who "flocked" to the area at certain times of the year.

"We were putting in measures to tackle it," he added.

Barriers

"We're putting barriers in to close the Burrow Road to pedestrianise it.

"We passed a motion at the July meeting to put barriers in on a trial basis to see how it works.

"We'll talk to the local gardai and see about putting foot patrols in around that area. It's a lovely area - it's wooded - but we just have to stamp out any antisocial behaviour that goes on down there."

Robbie Ireton, owner of Ireton's Caravan Park, welcomed CCTV cameras being installed in the area.

However, he called for more gardai to patrol the area.

"We need more gardai on the beat. A garda is not going to see anything driving around. They have to be walking around. It means the community can rest easy," he said.

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