Belong To responds to attack on Navan teen amid widespread condemnation

After news of a potential hate crime against a teenager in Navan emerged, the community was left in shock and shared messages of solidarity.

This article is about a hate crime that took place in Navan. In the photo, a Garda with their back to the camera in a street in Ireland.
Image: Via Twitter - @GardaTraffic

Yesterday, May 17, news broke out of a vicious attack that took place in Navan, Co Meath, against a teen who was assaulted by a group of students in what Gardaí are investigating as a hate crime. In response to the horrific attack, LGBTQ+ youth organisation Belong To released a statement condemning the episode and sharing solidarity with the young victim and their family.

“Belong To is horrified about a serious assault which took place on Monday of this week and led to a student being treated in hospital. We send our thoughts to the young person injured and their loved ones, and wish them a full recovery,” the statement read.

“We know from 2022 research that 76% of LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe in our post-primary schools. This is not good enough,” the organisation continued. “We must prioritise the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth who are seriously at risk. The rise in anti-LGBTQ+ violence we have witnessed across Ireland over the past 18 months is deeply distressing.

“At Belong To, we are continuing our work to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in our schools, homes, and communities. Schools across the country are doing incredible work supporting their LGBTQ+ students, but they cannot do this alone.

“We urgently need hate crime and hate speech legislation to be introduced to send a clear message that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is not acceptable, and a clear roadmap from Government on how to tackle the rise in discrimination and hate targeting minority communities,” it further stated.


The assault on the teen occurred in a residential neighbourhood in the Navan area on Monday, May 15, and it has now been confirmed that Gardaí are investigating the episode as a hate crime. It was reportedly carried out by a group of students wearing school uniforms, who also recorded the violence and later posted it on social media.

The assailants only ceased their attack when other students intervened and pushed them away. The 14-year-old was treated for “serious facial injuries” at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and allegedly suffered a concussion, broken teeth and extensive bruising.

Speaking about the brutal incident, one of the victim’s family members said: “No 14-year-old should be beaten like that for anything at all, especially because of who he is. He is only a child and it happened across the road from a family member, where he was trying to get to.

“We are shocked, horrified and upset at what can happen in this day and age. It was a number of people against one boy, while others filmed it and posted it online. That is horrific and wrong.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also strongly condemned the assault, saying, “It looks to me like somebody was targeted because they’re different and they were humiliated and physically assaulted. I think everyone would condemn it utterly.”

After pleading for anyone with information to cooperate with Gardaí in their investigation, he added: “I really want to send my solidarity to the young person who was harmed and injured in this way. I really want to say to them that life does get better. It is very sad that people experience violence and bullying in school but life does get better, and not to give up.”

Mayor of Navan Edward Fennessy also shared his solidarity with the teen, saying that the community was “in shock”.

“Those responsible for what can only be described as a hate crime, must be held accountable for their actions,” the Mayor said. “No person, not least a child should be subjected to such savagery. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

“Our thoughts are with the victim and their family. Recovery is what’s important now. The best care the state has to offer must be made available to the child,” he added. “As the Mayor of Navan, I offer the support of the people and I ask that the family be given space during this difficult time”.

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