Terrifying ordeal for Limerick couple who tried to stop vandalism

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Some of the teenagers leaving the scene of the confrontation at the rear of the Hunt Museum.

A LIMERICK couple who tried to tackle a gang who were vandalising pieces of public art at the Hunt Museum found themselves at the centre of a terrifying ordeal.

Ironically, it was Culture Night last week when Marketa Dowling and her husband Tom were out walking the city’s three bridges and came across a gang of teenagers attempting to break and topple works of art in the garden of the Hunt Museum.

Marketa told the Limerick Post that the youths were “kicking and trying to uproot one of the pieces of art”.

“My husband shouted to them to stop and then the boys in the group came and surrounded us and started shouting obscenities and abuse.

“One of them threw a stone at me and hit me but when I got my phone out and started taking pictures of them, they pulled up their hoodies to cover their faces and scarpered.”

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But while the boys beat a retreat, a group of girls – who had been watching them vandalise the works – launched themselves on the couple.

“They were right up in our faces, shoving us and banging into us with their bodies. They were screaming things like ‘pedophile’ into our faces,” Marketta explained.

“I was getting worried. The whole thing was very frightening. At one stage I thought ‘what if one of them has a knife?'”

The ordeal ended when a man walking his dog came to stand with the couple.

“These were teenagers aged between about 16 and 18, although some of the girls could have been much younger as they were wearing a lot of makeup,” said Marketta.

The couple, who live in the city centre, called the Gardaí after the incident took place.

Marketta says that “if there are no consequences for this kind of behaviour. If they’re not stopped, then they have no fear. They’ll just keep doing these anti-social things.”

Marketta now hopes that the attack won’t prompt the Hunt Museum to close off the  city walk.

“This behaviour just ruins enjoyment of the city for everyone,” she said.