Tallaght residents furious over failure to deal with lane after sexual assault

By Mary Dennehy

RESIDENTS have this week criticised South Dublin County Council for not responding to the community’s ongoing concerns over the dangers posed by the unlit lane linking the estates of Raheen and Whitebrook, which was the location of a sexual assault on a young woman last Sunday.

Just after 6pm on Sunday, February 5, a man in his early thirties approached a young woman from behind as she walked through the laneway, placing one hands on her shoulder before “groping” her and attempting to drag her back into the lane.

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The young woman, who was not physically injured during the attack, managed to escape when a member of the public heard her screaming, and the culprit fled the scene.

As gardai continue their search for the culprit, residents have criticised the council for “ignoring” their concerns over the laneway which, unlit, has been the location of a previous assault.

Proposals to close the lane, which was originally constructed as an access route to the bus, shops and schools in the area, were discussed a number of years back.

However, due to its function as an access route, an agreement wasn’t reached with the residents in the area.

Raheen resident Olivia Blanch told The Echo: “Realistically Raheen residents would like the lane closed, but other areas such as Whitebrook don’t want it closed as people would start using their estate as a walkway, which is understandable.

“However, the council has an obligation to make the area safer and if they can’t close the lane they should have actedon the residents’ request for CCTV and public lighting in the area. 

“We also asked for the gates to be closed during the dark hours, but the council has just looked away.”

She added: “The residents in Raheen have been on a campaign to close this lane for many years due to a litany of anti-social behaviour incidents and criminality – such as robberies, assaults, drug-dealing, drinking, stolen cars, people’s sheds being burnt out, broken windows, smashed patio doors and a visit from the bomb disposal unit.

“Why can’t the council put preventative measures in, make the area safer for everyone, which would save them a lot of time and money in the long run as they are always being called to come out and clean the lane or maintain it in some way.

“Something has to be done, the criminality is getting worse and people simply feel abandoned by the council and the gardai.

“What will it take for the council to realise that something should have been done with this lane?”

When contacted by The Echo, South Dublin County Council said: “Over a number of years the council has received calls from local residents in relation to closing the Raheen lane and to keeping the right of way open on this lane. 

“To date it has not been possible for a consensus to be reached on either option.

“The council is open to consulting with residents and examining this issue again.”

Gardai at Tallaght are continuing with their search for the culprit of Sunday’s alleged assault, who has been described as being in his early thirties and small in height.

No arrests have yet been made and anyone with information is encouraged to contact Tallaght Garda Station on 6666000.

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