Gardaí have moved to ease concerns after a spate of violent attacks in Cork City in which one man was doused in petrol and set alight, another suffered a fractured skull in a hammer and baseball attack, and another was beaten by a gang armed with hurleys.
While he said it was “worrying”, Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said gardaí are satisfied there are no connections between, and no gangland involvement in, the attacks, all of which have occurred on the northside of the city since Friday.
Detectives are still investigating the fatal stabbing of a college student on the southside of the city last week.
Chief Supt McPolin said:
“The level of violence is worrying but we are satisfied that there is no connection between these incidents. It is a spike in serious or violent crime, and it has come in a wave, and that is concerning, but we are following definite lines of inquiry and I am satisfied that we are making good progress.”
His comments come as detectives explore possible revenge motives for the attack in which a man was beaten and set alight by a gang of up to three men who entered his home in the Dunard estate in Mayfield early yesterday.
While the victim appeared in court some years ago — first in connection with an assault and later in connection with threatening behaviour — it is believed yesterday’s attack is linked to a separate personal dispute.
Up to three men, believed to have been armed with a machete and an iron bar, entered his home, beat him, doused him in petrol, and set him alight before fleeing in a black Ford Mondeo and a Citroen Berlingo van.
His partner raised the alarm and gardaí, paramedics, and fire crews from Ballyvolane fire station responded.
Gardaí intercepted both suspect vehicles and pursued them towards Ballyvolane, where they escaped. Two vehicles matching their description were recovered later on the southside of the city. They are being forensically examined.
The man is in an induced coma in Cork University Hospital due to the severity of burns to his head and upper body. His condition is described as serious.
An incident room has been set up in Mayfield Garda Station and gardaí appealed for witnesses to contact them on 021 4558510.
As forensic experts examined the scene of the attack, neighbour Seamus Kelly said the community has been rocked by the level of violence involved.
“If people like this want to do this to one house in a neighbourhood, there’s no-one safe anymore. Absolutely no one. I am very, very fearful now,” he said.
“I thought I’d seen everything. I’ve seen riots, I’ve been in an industrial school, but this is after knocking me for six. They are finding bodies now with parts missing, people being attacked with knives. I can’t explain this. This is another dimension.
“I’m glad I’m old, that I’m not a young man with a family because I’ll be gone in a couple of years but this is the worst I’ve seen in all my 57 years. I can’t comprehend now how things have come this far.”
Local Worker’s Party councillor Ted Tynan laid the blame for the recent surge in violent crime on cuts to community policing.
Chief Supt McPolin said community policing is being bolstered again and that, by the end of February, 26 new gardaí will have been assigned to the Cork city division since December.
Meanwhile, gardaí are preparing a file for the DPP after releasing two men without charge following a hammer and baseball attack on a man in his 20s in Blackpool around 8pm on Friday.
The two, in their 30s, were arrested by detectives who came upon the attack on Great William O’Brien St. The victim suffered a suspected fractured skull but has since been discharged from hospital.
Another man was taken to hospital for treatment for head injuries after he was attacked in the Blackpool retail park by a group of men armed with hurleys around 9.30pm on Sunday.