A major hunt is under way for three men after a woman was dragged away from her bike, pulled into a park, and raped.
Gardaí are investigating reports that two men held the woman down, while a third man sexually assaulted her.
The terrifying attack took place at 3.20am yesterday in Clondalkin, west Dublin.
It is understood that the woman, aged in her 30s, was pushing her bike along the Ninth Lock Rd near the junction with the Neilstown Road.
She had just purchased some groceries and was on her way home on what is the main road from Clondalkin to Lucan.
The attack location is beside parkland that meets the footpath and where trees and bushes grow out over the low boundary wall onto the pavement.
Three men pulled the woman in and it is believed that two of them restrained her, while a third man raped her.
The woman is understood to have made her escape and raised the alarm. She was taken by ambulance to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Rotunda Hospital for specialist care and relevant tests.
Gardaí secured the scene and immediately began a search for the three men.
The woman’s bicycle was still at the location yesterday morning and covered with plastic sheeting, awaiting the arrival of technical experts.
A forensic examination was conducted at the scene and the bicycle, along with some other items, were removed for DNA, fingerprint, and trace evidence investigation.
Gardaí had an initial conversation with the victim and were awaiting medical permission to take full details yesterday. Gardaí at Ronanstown Garda Station are conducting the investigation.
Door-to-door inquiries were conducted in the area yesterday. Gardaí are also trying to identify and harvest CCTV footage, although it is thought there are not many CCTV cameras in the immediate area.
Although the traffic was light at the time of the attack, gardaí are appealing to people, including taxi drivers and drivers with dashcams, who were in the area at the time to contact them.
Noeline Blackwell, chief executive of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said this was a “classic nightmare attack” by a stranger on a victim.
She said that while stranger attacks are not the norm, they account for one in four of the 500 victims who the centre treats in therapy.
She said such attacks result in huge levels of stress and trauma but said that the centre provided services and supports to help.
Local People Before Profit councillor Madeleine Johansson, said: “I wish to offer my sincere solidarity and support to the victim of this horrendous crime. The news emerging that this rape was committed by more than one person and by strangers in an open space makes this crime particularly frightening, and leaves the community feeling vulnerable.”
Local Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin, who lives close to the scene, said the road is quite narrow where the attack happened and that it is “darker there”.
He told RTÉ: “This has sent a huge amount of anxiety and fear in the local community. Unfortunately, we are finding sexual assault happening in all parts of our city and country too frequently.”
He urged anyone with information to contact gardaí.
Contact Ronanstown Garda Station on 01-6667700; National 24 hour Rape Crisis Helpline: 1800 77 77 88
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