A Dublin man was brutally beaten by a “marauding gang” in an attack that came just days before the killings of two gay men in County Sligo.
Gay rugby player Evan Somers, 23, was assaulted outside a Spar supermarket on Dame Street in the early hours of 10 April.
It was a night of partying at local nightclub the George that ended with him being hospitalised with a broken eye socket and two fractures to his ankle.
Ireland’s police force, An Garda Síochána, now understands that Somers was initially targeted by a lone man who lobbed homophobic abuse before punching him, only for a pack of other men to “join in”.
Somers told NewstalkFM’s Lunchtime Live last week that the man “beelined” towards him as he and his friends left the George.
“I was clearly, in the nicest way, the gay of the group,” he told the radio programme. “It’s not something I try to hide.
“From there he just kind of got in my face, got very aggressive and was just making fun of me immediately.”
His first attacker then called him the “f-word” and then “punched” Somers in the face. “I don’t remember a lot,” he added, “I did get knocked unconscious I believe.”
According to the Sunday Independent, alongside his attacker, a group of men also “joined in” on the homophobic assault. The gang are believed to have been involved in an earlier assault only 40 minutes prior.
At 3.05am, the second victim said to be in his 30s was “severely beaten” and left hospitalised by the young men.
The group fled the scene only to stumble onto Somers being punched and called a “f****t” by a man not associated with the gang at 3.45am.
Sources told the daily newspaper that the gang were “looking for more trouble” and “simply ran over and joined in this horrific assault” on Somers.
Last night a stranger called me a faggot before beating the shit out of me. He left me with a fractured eye socket, 2 fractures in my ankle, a dislocation in my ankle & some other minor injuries. We’ve come a long way but still have such a long way to go in terms of equality. pic.twitter.com/aAA8OQ83QY
— Evan (@ebintosh) April 10, 2022
No arrests have been made in either case and investigators are combing nearby surveillance footage for leads.
Religious leaders lament the ‘inhumanity’ of rising anti-gay hate crimes
The incident is the latest in a wave of homophobia that has battered Ireland in recent weeks, exacerbating the sense of anxiety brought on by the tragic deaths of Aidan Moffit and Michael Snee.
Living only one kilometre apart from one another, the local auctioneer and retired healthcare worker were killed in their homes.
Yousef Palani, 22, has been charged with the murder of the two men. District court prosecutors were met with stony silence from Palani as the grisly charges were read, which included assaulting a third man.
Sligo bishop Kevin Doran said Sunday that the incidents have left the community “badly shaken” as he stressed that LGBT+ people should not “live in fear”.
“Each of them, in different ways, served his community well,” he said at the Easter Sunday address in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Independent reported. “Each one was a much-loved son and brother and uncle.”
Homophobia, he added, is “something that we as Christians can never condone”
“People who identify as LGBTI should not have to live in fear any more than anybody else,” Doran continued.
To archbishop Michael Jackson, the appalling rise in anti-LGBT+ attacks that has seized Ireland is simply unacceptable.
“The inhumanity and cruelty of these attacks are rightly to be condemned,” he told congregants.
“I condemn them and have every confidence I speak for the vast majority of people who have seen and heard what has happened in recent days.”