AN 18th birthday celebration went horribly wrong when a family of 20 were attacked by a mob of youths, in what has been described as a “vicious and vile” assault.
Girls had necklaces and bracelets ripped from them, while the gang also hurled bottles at and “thumped” the party group.
A young man also suffered bruised ribs following the disturbing incident which took place in Thomondgate at around 9.30pm on Saturday.
Gardai are investigating the attack, which also saw many of the girls suffer bruised ribs after being hit.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader, the family chose not to disclose their identities for fear of recriminations from the gang.
One family member, who hails from King’s Island, helped organise a party bus for her niece, who had just turned 18, inviting 20 family members along to the celebration.
But when they alighted from the vehicle to stop in a Chinese food outlet, they were set upon by a gang of youths who demanded alcohol from the bus.
When the family refused, the youngsters - some as young as 14 - attacked them.
“I have never seen a gang so large in all my life,” the family member said.
“They just came out of nowhere. We did not even get to go into the Chinese, they just attacked us straight away. It was very frightening. I don’t ever want to experience anything like this again.”
The young lady who was marking her 18th birthday is “heartbroken”, as is the rest of the family, they said.
“It took so long to organise the party, and there was a lot of expense involved. We wanted to make it so special for her 18th birthday.”
The woman said she believed the youths were under the influence of drink when they carried out the attack.
“We didn’t know any of them. They had no reason to do this to us. It is a disgrace to think children of that age could do such a thing. They were pure vicious and vile. The worst part of it was my nephew’s friend. His ribs were bruised, and we had to ring an ambulance. But they were thumping us, hitting us, kicking us and throwing bottles at us.”
After the Chinese meal, the family were due to go and listen to a family friend playing a gig in the nearby Fitzgerald’s Bar in Thomondgate’s High Road.
But now, the family - most of whom reside in the King’s Island area - are scared to venture north of the Shannon.
“I am terrified to even go out that way anymore. I would not dream of entering that part of town anymore: I would be afraid of my life”.
Gardai at Mayorstone are investigating the incident and can be reached at 061-456980.