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Huge concern Kilkenny community left shocked by ‘deeply disturbing’ attack on teenage girl near her home

"They're deeply shocked because it's a very safe area.”

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Gardaí pictured at a scene of an assault on a young woman while out walking near Johnstown Co. Kilkenny.

Gardaí pictured at a scene of an assault on a young woman while out walking near Johnstown Co. Kilkenny.

Gardaí pictured at a scene of an assault on a young woman while out walking near Johnstown Co. Kilkenny.

A community in Kilkenny have been left shocked by a “deeply disturbing” attack on a teenage girl, so soon after the tragic death of Ashling Murphy.

A 17-year-old girl was out walking in a rural area near her home, just before 12pm on Monday when she was attacked in what Gardaí believe may have been an attempted abduction.

"It's deeply, deeply disturbing that a young teenage girl can be attacked in such a random way in broad daylight only metres away from her home,” Mayor of Kilkenny, Andrew McGuinness, told Pat Kenny on Newstalk this morning.

"I'd hate to think what would have happened if the attacker had his way, I think we'd be having a very different conversation.”

"I'm just very thankful that the girl managed to get away and managed to get to safety,” he said, explaining that the local community are in shock.

"The community in Johnstown in north Kilkenny is a very close knit community, people there support each other very well.”

The Mayor said that it is “deeply concerning” that the incident happened so soon after the tragic death of Ashling Murphy, who died after she was attacked when she was out for a run in her hometown of Tullamore.

"They're deeply shocked because it's a very safe area.”

"In a lot of circumstances in towns like Johnstown, everybody would know each other and you would recognise people from the area.”

"So there is a high possibility that the person is not from the area.”

He also said he has full confidence in the Gardaí "because they responded so proactively and with force immediately.”

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"It's sad to see, actually, the Johnstown community Facebook page, where they're advising people to be vigilant, and it's sad that we're at that point now, and we've probably been at that point for a lot longer than we know, where we do have to encourage everybody to be vigilant.”

"As a parent myself, I'm worried for my children like every other parent is worried for their children.”

"It's sad that we now have to be extra cautious and that we have people within our communities - no matter how big or small - that are capable of something like this.”

"And we need to work together as a community to stop it and to fight it".

A manhunt is underway for the attacker after the girl was grabbed by a man carrying a sharp object.

She managed to fight off the man and after a brief struggle made her way home to raise the alarm.

Gardaí have been unable to establish a motive for the crime as the man was unknown to his victim.

The young woman required hospital treatment after the assault but is now recovering at home.

The suspect, believed to be in his 40s, was wearing dark clothing and spoke with an Irish accent.

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