Councillor's daughter suffers ordeal at hands of thieves in Paris
A young Wexford woman was pepper-sprayed by thieves in Paris just days after being mugged on the Metro.
Niamh Allen, a daughter of Fine Gael councillor Jim Allen of Newtown Road was left 'terrified' following the two crimes.
A student of English and French at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, she is currently on an Erasmus year programme in the French capital.
Earlier this month, she was travelling on the Metro when a mugger snatched her mobile phone.
She had just purchased the phone in mid-September when she arrived in France.
Then last week, as she was recovering from the shock of the theft, she and her German flat mate were subjected to a terror ordeal at the hands of two thieves.
The pair live in an apartment on the upper floor of a family home in a Paris suburb.
The French family were away last Tuesday morning when the doorbell rang persistently downstairs.
The two girls were upstairs in their apartment and wouldn't open the door as they weren't expecting anyone.
Two robbers broke into the house and climbed the stairs to the girls' apartment where they pepper-sprayed them in the face before pushing them into a room.
The thieves then returned downstairs to ransack and rob the house, making away with a large amount of cash from a safe.
While the intruders were still in the house, the girls telephoned the French police and alerted them to a robbery in progress.
About 15 gendarmes arrived on the scene but the robbers had fled.
Niamh telephoned her parents Jim and Colette in a terrified state.
'She's in bits. She's afraid of her life,' said Cllr. Allen, adding that Niamh's eyes were very painful following the attack.
'She's very upset because she thought they were going to hurt them,' he said.
Niamh is due to return to Wexford for the Christmas holidays on December 22 and the family can't wait to see her.
Meanwhile, her parents are keeping in regular contact by phone in order to console and reassure her.
'All parents are worried when children are away in university and this just brings it home to you,' said Cllr. Allen.
'We' re all very nervous especially when we hear about what happened abroad to young girls like Nicola Furlong.'
'We're so relived she wasn't harmed and we can't wait to have her back home again,' he said.