An attack on a man in Coolock, Dublin by a group of teenagers is being treated by Gardaí as a hate crime.
Marc Power had arranged to meet someone he was messaging on Grindr, but when he arrived at the Odeon on Malahide Road, he alleges that he was attacked by a gang of eight teenagers.
Power said that his attackers beat him with hammers and called him a ‘”f****t” while laughing.
On Thursday, gardaí confirmed the attack is being treated as a hate crime. It is unusual for hate incidents to be classified as a hate crime and could be an indication of increased efforts from Gardaí in tackling racism and homophobia.
While no specific legislation currently exists for hate crime in Ireland, a judge can consider hate crime motivations while sentencing.
Last week, as part of the gardaí diversity and integration strategy, they introduced a working hate crime definition.
The strategy defines a hate crime 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.”
Harris added that there should be a legislative basis for dealing with hate crimes, and he expects proposals will be brought forward by the government.
Minister of State for Justice David Staunton commented that the Department of Justice is currently reviewing the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 which will determine what amendments are required to ensure it is fit for purpose.
“A public consultation on the Act is due to commence shortly. The department is also undertaking research into hate crime, to learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions who have taken different legislative approaches. The results of this research will help develop new approaches to ensure hate crime is addressed effectively in Ireland,” he said.
The National LGBT Federation (NXF) has condemned what it described as a vile and appalling homophobic hate attack against a gay man in Dublin last Tuesday.
Adam Long, Advocacy & Communications spokesperson for the NXF stated:
“This shocking, premeditated attack underlines in very stark terms the clear need to enact a robust Hate Crime law, underpinned by comprehensive training for all those tasked with enforcing it.
“We now call on government to place a greater priority and urgency in passing such legislation and joining with the vast majority of other European states who already have such a law in place.”
Long added: “Our Burning Issues 2 research revealed the need for a Hate Crime law to be the number one priority for the LGBT community and we will continue to advocate for such a measure until it is finally passed into law.”
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