A teenage boy was arrested in connection with a possible homophobic attack which took place outside Newbridge railway station last week.
Two men were assaulted by a gang last Friday, with one of them – named only as Anthony – having to be rushed to Tallaght hospital after being stabbed four times.
Gardaí said the suspected attacker was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows them to hold him for 24 hours without a charge. He was arrested on suspicion of assault causing harm. Another garda spokesperson said they were looking into the affair as a possible hate crime.
“An Garda Síochána has a significant focus on enhancing the identification, reporting, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes as published in the Garda Diversity and Integration Strategy 2019-2021,” the spokesperson said.
Though this was the first arrest, the teenager was the second person questioned by the guards.
“A man in his late teens was also previously questioned in connection with this assault and an investigation file is being prepared for direction,” gardaí said.
One of the men attacked, Gearóid Laighléis, said the couple were attacked around 6.40 pm while waiting for their train. Laighléis explained how he was kicked in the face and beaten to the ground while Anthony was repeatedly stabbed by the gang.
Following the incident, LGBT Ireland called for hate crime legislation to be put in place. Paul Fagan, chief executive of LGBT Ireland, said they had been calling general election candidates across the country over the past two weeks to ensure it’s a priority.
Unlike most EU countries, Ireland does not have effective hate crime legislation aside from the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989. The act only deals with hate speech aimed at inciting hatred though, and as such is not fully comprehensive.
However, last October the gardaí introduced a working hate crime definition as part of its diversity and integration strategy. They defined it as “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on actual or perceived age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender.”
Gardaí appealed for anyone with information in relation to this homophobic attack to contact Newbridge Garda Station on 045 440180, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.
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