Teen boys arrested after schoolboy, 14, brutally attacked ‘for being gay’

Teenagers in Irish park

Three juvenile males have been arrested in Navan, Ireland, as part of an investigation into an assault on a schoolboy that was recorded and circulated on social media.

There was widespread public condemnation when footage was circulated on social media showing a group of schoolboys violently assaulting one of their peers. A family member of the victim has claimed the boy was targeted because he is gay.

The victim subsequently received treatment for “serious facial injuries” in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth.

An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force, confirmed on Friday (19 May) that three male juveniles have been arrested for alleged offences under Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1999.

The boys are being detained in Garda stations in the Meath area under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

The incident has attracted widespread media attention after a clip of the attack went viral on social media.

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Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is openly gay, said: “I want to send my solidarity to the person who was harmed and injured in this way. I would say to them that life does get better.

Irish prime minister Leo Eric Varadkar
Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“It is very sad that people experience violence and bullying in school, but life does get better and I’d say not to give up. I would say how sad I am that in this day and age we still see this kind of bullying and violence in our schools.”

Navan assault victim was ‘harassed for being gay’

A family member of the victim, who wished to remain anonymous, told PinkNews that they shared a clip of the attack online in the hope that it would “pressure the authorities” to act.

They said the victim had been “harassed for being gay” since his first year at the school, but that the assault was the first time the bullying had turned physical.

“It’s believed that they [the other students] attacked him purely because they see him as wrong and hate him for being gay,” the relative said.

A hate crime bill is currently making its way through the Irish parliament but it has not yet been passed into law.

Gardaí have recorded the Navan assault with a hate motivation based on the international McPherson test, which is a perception based test introduced in 2019 as part of the force’s diversity and integration strategy.

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