Republic of Ireland: Lesbian couple beaten in homophobic attack

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Two women say they have been “inundated with messages of support” after being beaten unconscious in a homophobic attack.

Roisin Prendergast, 20, and Ciara Murphy, 17, said they were walking out to get food at 2am, in Limerick the Sunday before last when two men began shouting abuse at them. Ms Prendergast told the Irish Independent: “Initially we shouted back as we are used to this kind of abuse – but then they walked back towards us and started shoving us roughly. Suddenly, the men pushed us to the ground. They were stepping on our chests, they kneed and kicked us.”

She said the men stole the women’s hats and appeared to leave, but then returned. “We thought it was over. Then one guy came back, threw Ciara against a shop window and ripped up her hat in front of her.”

Ms Murphy was left unconscious and bleeding from the head. They were found by passers-by who alerted the emergency services.  The gardai (police) are investigating but say that CCTV quality is too poor to identify the attackers.

The attackers were described as being in their early to mid-20s and “well-dressed, as if coming back from a night out.”

Ms Prendergast said “So far we have no information as to who the two men are. But we have been inundated with messages of support.”

She also said on Facebook: “I know our bruises will heal, I know we will be OK but this is not something I am going to let go. Watching someone you love getting hurt while you yourself are getting hurt is not something anyone should ever have to endure, straight or gay. This to me was a hate crime. I am finished crying, today starts the first of many actions which will be taken to get justice.”