Senior garda appointed to investigation into street attack on Muslim girl

Senior garda appointed to investigation into street attack on Muslim girl

A senior garda has been appointed to supervise the investigation into a street attack on a young Muslim girl in a south Dublin suburb.

It is understood that all the suspected culprits - girls and boys in their mid-teens - have been identified.

Gardaí are eager to progress their investigation quickly and will interview the suspects, in the presence of their parents.

Sources stressed that as the attackers all appear to be juveniles, files will be referred to the Juvenile Liaison Office.

If the suspects admit their offence, they could be dealt with by way of informal or formal caution.

Gardaí have stressed that they did not, as it stood, consider the attack a “racist” incident.

A short clip of the incident was circulated by a sister of one of the victims. The victim was walking with her cousin along Main Street in Dundrum last Sunday afternoon when they were set upon by a gang of youths, aged in their mid-teens.

It has been alleged that the attackers pulled the girl's hijab off during the assault and that eggs were thrown at her, though this is not captured in the video circulated widely on social media.

Detectives suspect members of the gang had used eggs they had taken from stores nearby to 'egg' the girls.

Gardaí believe this gang was likely to attack someone and that it might be the case that the two girls targeted were “just in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Sources said it is possible the hijabs may have made the girls stand out as a possible target, but do not believe the attack was a racist crime.

An official statement issued by gardaí on Tuesday said the investigation would determine the motive behind the incidents, but that “at this time the incidents are not believed to be racially motivated”.

Sources said local gardaí are treating the matter very seriously and are “aware” of concerns and claims of racism or hate crimes.

It is understood that a senior sergeant has been appointed by the district commander to supervise the investigation to ensure it is fully and comprehensively investigated.

“They won't be hanging around with this investigation,” one source said.

Sources said the file will automatically be referred to the Juvenile Office given the suspects are underage and the officers there will assess whether or not the case should be accepted by them.

This would depend, among other things, on the seriousness of the offence, admission of offending and the scale and severity of any previous offences, if any, carried out by any of the juveniles.

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