Father 'sick to the stomach' after kidnapper makes snatch bid on son

Gary Byrne (Pic: Herald/
Gary Byrne (Pic: Herald/

A dad has told of how a child-snatch bid on his son has made him "sick to the stomach".

Gary Byrne's nine-year-old boy, Jack, was one of two schoolchildren approached in separate incidents in the Dun Laoghaire/Monkstown area this week.

Gardai believe that the same man, in his 20s and driving a black car, is behind both incidents.

Jack was approached while walking to his home on Wednesday.

The following day, a student from Our Lady of Mercy Convent School in Booterstown, was also approached by a man in a black car.

"I was absolutely sick to my stomach when I heard about it," said Mr Byrne.

Gardai have now warned parents in south Dublin to be extra-vigilant after the man's two attempts to lure children into a car.

Two primary schools in the area have now issued warnings to parents to remain vigilant.

Scoil Mhuire and St Anne’s Primary School in Shankill sent a text to parents telling them two children had been approached by the man in the dark car.

The first attempted abduction happened on Wednesday when Monkstown resident Gary Byrne’s son was approached.

Mr Byrne, a musician and actor, said he was furious when nine-year-old Jack told him what had happened.

The schoolboy was making the short journey from his grandmother’s house on St Patrick’s Crescent to his own home when he was approached by the man at around 5.30pm.

“He said the man came up to him and asked where the Applegreen station was. Jack told him and the man asked him to get into the car to bring him there,” Mr Byrne said.

Luckily, Jack knew not to go with the man from his parents and from safety lessons in school.

He returned to his grandparents’ house and told them what happened.

“When he got home we told him he had done the right thing and he was quite happy that we told him that,” said Mr Byrne.

“I was absolutely sick to my stomach when I heard about it.

“I went out in the car to find the guy, but I’m glad I didn’t, because if I had I might not have been able to restrain myself.”

Mr Byrne, who contacted the gardai, wanted to warn parents about the danger the man poses.

“Whatever he’s up to, he’s getting desperate,” he said.

Jack was also able to give a good description of the man to his father. He had fair hair and was paunchy, or slightly overweight.

He also spoke in what has been described as a posh Dublin accent. He was driving a black 99-registered saloon.

On Thursday, a pupil from Our Lady of Mercy Convent School in Booterstown was approached by a man in a black car.

The man reportedly gestured to the child and said her father had asked him to pick her up after school, but the child ran away.

“Parents are angry. Please collect your kids from school and be on the lookout,” said local councillor Vinny Duran-Kearns.

He said the incidents took place in a similar area and most likely involve the same man.