CW: Graphic and distressing content depicting physical violence
Following the horrific murders in county Sligo, considered to be possible homophobic attacks, LGBT Ireland has issued a statement calling for better protections for our community.
Deeply troubled to read about the two suspected murders in Sligo including that of @FineGael activist Aidan Moffitt. Thinking of his family & friends. What happened is unspeakable and hard to fathom. Concerned about the possible motive of the attacker. RIP
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) April 13, 2022
“This has been a dark week for the LGBTI+ community in Ireland,” said Paula Fagan, CEO of LGBT Ireland. “We are still reeling from the vicious homophobic assault on Dame Street in Dublin in recent days and, now, we are deeply saddened by events in Sligo.”
“Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. These devastating crimes bring to the fore the need for comprehensive Hate Crime legislation, and I – along with other sectoral representatives – will be speaking with lawmakers over the coming days to stress the need for them to redouble their efforts and ensure the forthcoming legislation is effective, comprehensive and enacted with urgency. The LGBTI+ community has the right to feel and be safe on our streets, and online.”
“The focus of recent events must remain firmly on the perpetrators of violence against LGBTI+ people,” Ms Fagan added. “These crimes are on the extreme end of a spectrum of violence experienced by the LGBTI+ community and highlight the vulnerabilities and very real fears of the wider community.
“In 2021 our National LGBT Helpline received 21 calls because of violence, and we fear that many more people do not report hate incidents to us or to the Gardaí, due to the normalisation of homophobia and transphobia in society. Work done by the Hate and Hostility Research Group at the University of Limerick in 2019, revealed that 1 in 5 of those surveyed had been punched, hit or physically attacked in public for being LGBTI+ and 1 in 3 had been threatened with physical violence. These statistics are stark reminder of the violence that our community still face.
“We know that the events in Sligo and Dublin over the past week will have left members of the LGBTI+ community reeling. Our Helpline is available to all those in need of support.”
We've now had a double murder in Sligo, a gay man beaten up in Dublin, A nonbinary person murdered up the north, a trans man with his ribs broken in Dundalk and trans woman attacked in Cork all within the past year. This is horrific!
— Lilith Ferreyra-Carroll (@trasinscneach) April 13, 2022
Sligo Pride will be holding a vigil on Friday, April 15, at 6 PM outside Town Hall to mourn the deceased and show unity as a community. Dublin Pride will mirror the event, holding their own on Kildare Street at the same time.
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These tragic murders took place within 24 hours of one another, with the remains of both men found at their Sligo homes after they had made arrangements to meet with the suspected killer through a dating app.
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Found at his home on Monday in Cartron Heights, Aidan Moffitt, a Fine Gael activist, was identified as the first victim in what the first responders described as a “highly distressing” scene. The next night, Tuesday, the body of Michael Snee, was found in his apartment at Connaughton Road under similar circumstances. Both men were said to have had “significant physical injuries,” although Snee’s post-mortem is still forthcoming.
Shocking. A second man has been found murdered in Sligo this morning in similar circumstances to Aidan Moffitt.
A man in his 20s has been arrested. Both are being treated as possible gay hate crimes. https://t.co/WGQKmJQgaX
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) April 13, 2022
It is possible these murders may be in connection with another attack, in which a man was stabbed in the face at the Racecourse area of Sligo town. The man in his early 40s survived but lost an eye as a result of the incident.
On Wednesday, April 13, at approximately 1:45 AM, following “intense local garda activity and inquiries,” Gardaí, assisted by the Armed Support Unit, arrested a male in his early 20s in Sligo Town on suspicion of murder. He is currently detained under the provision of section 4 Criminal Justice Act 1984 at Sligo Garda Station, where he will be questioned.
Deepest sympathies to those who loved Aidan Moffit and Michael Snee. Solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Sligo today. A dark cloud hangs over the entire island. https://t.co/I2Ssc7Fi0K
— Theresa O'Keefe (@Theresa_OKeefe) April 13, 2022
A Gardaí spokesperson confirmed that these “appalling” murders are currently being investigated separately and the possibility of “a hate-related motive” is being considered.
You can report a hate crime online here.
If you or someone you care about is in need of support, please visit: www.lgbt.ie or call National LGBT Helpline on freephone 1800 929 539. Out of Hours: freephone the Samaritans on 116-123.
Available 7 days a week, from 6.30 pm to 10 pm Mon – Thur, from 4 pm to 10 pm Fridays, and from 4 pm to 6 pm on Sat & Sun.
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