Cyclists attacked by thugs on Grand Canal cycle path

By Maurice Garvey

VICIOUS attacks on cyclists using the Grand Canal occurred again this week, when two men  were ambushed by gangs of teenage thugs in separate incidents.

One of the attacks was so distressing that a Park West employee told The Echo he will never cycle to work in the area again.

Canal helmet compressor

The damaged cyclIng helmet

It is the latest in a long line of serious anti-social problems along the canal, however in recent months, authorities, including gardai, have put in significant resources in an effort to clean the place up.

On Saturday, cyclist Liam Molloy was assaulted by iron-bar-wielding teenagers near the Blackhorse Luas stop.

Miraculously, he was saved by another male who told the youths to back off.

Speaking to The Echo on Tuesday, Liam Molloy feels without the intervention of this stranger, he would have been “left unconscious” on the canal.

Liam said: “I work in Park West and was travelling home to Clontarf after doing a 8.30am to 7pm shift. It was very strange. There was a line of fire that forced me to slow down, then I was surrounded by six or seven of them, they were hitting me with iron bars. Thank God I had my helmet on.

“This guy with a hoodie came out of nowhere and jumped in. He told them to stop hitting me, told them there was CCTV. He was a bit older, in his early 20s, but they listened to him. Otherwise they would have taken my bike, everything and left me unconscious.”

On Monday at approximately 7.40pm, a similar situation happened to Yaman Umuroglu, a researcher at Xilinx.

He was ambushed by youths near the Blackhorse Luas stop, beaten up and his e-bike was stolen.

Canal blood pants compressor

Liam Molloy with blood-stained trousers

Taking to social media on Tuesday morning, Mr Umuroglu said: “I’ve had dung thrown at me, but getting beaten up is a first.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone again. The cycle path is lovely and makes my commute to Citywest something to look forward to, but at night the squeeze-stiles really do turn into ‘ambush spots’.”

The squeeze-stiles are there to prevent scramblers from accessing the canal, but cyclists say they are being used to trap them in an ambush.

There was a strong reaction on social media to the incidents, with many people posting their own personal experiences, or that of their work colleagues.

One resident said they were attacked by two gangs of teenagers (one youth was on a pony) at the Blackhorse stop two months ago.

Another reported being attacked twice and chased up the canal in the vicinity of the Waterside.

Two weeks ago, The Echo reported how gardai are involved in an ongoing operation to target organised crime along the canal area, and have increased patrols in recent months.

The Echo understands that workers installing cabling and CCTV cameras have in recent months come under attack, and South Dublin County Council are working on installing ‘anti-vandal’ cameras along the worst-affected areas of the canal.

Mr Umuroglu did notice more streetlights on than usual and has noticed “a few gardai on the canal recently”.

Liam Molloy, who posted a picture online of his bloodied pants in the aftermath of the attack, told The Echo he will never cycle on the canal again.

“I am taking the bus now to work. I will only cycle to college, but that is in a different area. It is such a pity because the canal is a great infrastructure for cyclists, and takes them off the roads.”

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