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Saturday 16 December 2017

Warning after teen thugs beat up DCU student union chief

Niall Behan’s injuries
Niall Behan’s injuries

A gang of youths carrying a knife and baseball bat launched a horrific attack on the president of Dublin City University's student union, leaving him bleeding and bruised.

Niall Behan (23) was walking the short distance from the campus to his home in Glasnevin when the group demanded his phone.

He had to seek hospital attention after the incident.

Warning

Now he wants his story to be a warning to others.

"I was coming home from work - a journey I've done countless times in the past five years - and it was 6.30pm and still bright," he said.

"I was approached by five young lads. They asked for my phone. One of them had a knife in his hand so I refused and put my phone back in my pocket.

"They began to throw punches at me until I was on the ground.

"Another one was holding the end of a bat and gave me a dig in the face.

"I'd say it only lasted about a minute, I was just trying to back away and after they landed a few punches they ran off. It was extremely scary."

Mr Behan's face was swollen, bleeding and bruised when he arrived at hospital. His cheek, which doctors thought was broken, was X-rayed, and the area was revealed only to be badly bruised.

"I was completely shocked, I didn't really know what was happening after the attack. I was in a lot of pain and it's not something I'd like to relive. It was out of the blue and I want to raise awareness," he said.

"I was kind of engrossed in my phone, in my own world and next thing I was being hassled."

He said he hopes his ordeal will help to keep others safe.

"I think it's part of a growing issue and I want to raise awareness," he added.

Afraid

"I think these lads were only 16 or 17 and I don't know if they were even afraid about the guards catching up with them."

Since the attack, the student union has distributed a Campus Watch booklet.

"We are urging people not to walk home by themselves and to be with friends or get a taxi if returning from a night out," said Mr Behan.

"We've also advertised a taxi app, Dash, where you don't need money on you but can upload an emergency fund in advance."

A garda spokeswoman said investigations into the attack, which happened on October 17, are continuing.

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