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06 Oct 2022

Locals in fear following reported attack on Kilkenny schoolgirl, says local councillor

Locals in fear following attack on Kilkenny schoolgirl says local councillor

The incident took place at Ballyspellan

A local councillor said there was ‘fear, anger and shock’ in North Kilkenny following an alleged attack on a teenager outside the village of Johnstown at lunchtime yesterday.

The female (17), who is from the locality and is understood to be studying for her Leaving Cert, was out walking when she was approached by the male and assaulted before the man left the scene.

The girl struggled with her attacker and screamed for help and he fled the scene. The woman  is understood to be recovering following the horrific ordeal and was treated for shock and non life threatening injuries at St Luke's Hospital.

Searches are ongoing this morning as gardaí search for her attacker. Gardaí have issued a description of the suspect, who is described as being in his 40's, wearing dark clothing and speaking with an Irish accent.

Cllr Mary Hilda Kavanagh said that her thoughts and prayers are with the young woman and her family.

“It is absolutely appalling, I can’t get the poor girl out of my head, everyone is thinking of this young girl and her family and hoping that she recovers well from her ordeal.

The area is popular with walkers and runners living in North Kilkenny.

“People just don’t feel safe anymore, it is shocking to think this could happen on our doorstep,” she said.

"I think we should have a dedicated garda unit to deal with violence against women. I would urge people to use walkways with public lighting when out exercising and not to walk alone if possible," she said.

"The lights had been left on until 10pm last night at a walking track at the GAA pitch in Urlingford. They should be commended for this," she added.

Meanwhile chairman of the Joint Policing Committee, Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick also said he was shocked, saddened and concerned.

"My thoughts are with this young woman and her family. I was out at the scene and the gardaí remain out there. I spoke with some locals and everyone is expressing their concern over what happened," he said.

Gardaí remain at the scene this morning and investigations are ongoing. No arrests have been made.

An appeal is being made any person travelling on the R639 between Johnstown and The Gallops (a minor road also known locally as Cullinanes Lane), Ballyspellan between 11am and 12.15pm, particularly any person with any video footage (dashcam or other recording device) to contact Gardaí at Kilkenny at 056 7775000, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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