Gardaí investigate Oxegen rape allegtion

Gardaí are investigating an allegation that a woman was raped at the Oxegen music festival at Punchestown in July this year. The woman reported the incident to gardaí from Naas Garda station.

MCD, the promoters of the festival, said: "Gardaí are currently investigating the alleged sexual assault and MCD will provide any assistance that may be required to aid such an investigation."

The festival, which took place on 8 and 9 July, was attended by 80,000 people.

"The fans were amazing, incredibly well-behaved and good-humoured," said Denis Desmond, who owns MCD, immediately after the event (and prior to the rape allegations emerging). However, there were reports of ugly scenes at the festival, mainly at campsite A.

A number of newspapers carried photographs of tents which had been set on fire at Oxegen.

Sophie Merry, who camped at the festival with her boyfriend, told the Irish Independent, "I feared for my life when we were there.

"If my boyfriend hadn't been there I wouldn't have stayed in the tent with another girl. We wouldn't have been safe... It was like a third-world country."

A caller to RTÉ's Liveline described how his group of friends were terrified by events at the campsite. He said he and his friends were forced to move tents on Sunday night after chairs were thrown and punched holes in their tent. When presenter Derek Davis asked if he would go back next year, he said, "I don't think I would because all of the girls were very very distressed."

He said there was "fire everywhere" and "smoke all over the place" when they got up in the middle of Sunday night to move tents. Thirty-six people were treated in hospital over the Oxegen festival weekend for alcohol or drug-related incidents. Eight of them were admitted to hospital overnight on Saturday for complications due to drug and alcohol abuse.

Three people were killed driving home from the festival, brother and sister Tom and Mary Frewen, 22 and 19 respectively, of Curraghalla, Mitchelstown, Co Cork and Paul Geary, 21, of nearby Marshallstown.

John Byrne