Gang who beat up schoolboy, 14, for being gay must ‘face consequences’, family says
The family of an Irish teenager who was left with serious facial injuries after a homophobic assault has said they “hope the attackers face consequences”.
The 14-year-old boy was reportedly assaulted by a gang of fellow students on Monday (15 May), leaving him with serious injuries, including two broken teeth – with the bullies allegedly attacking him for being gay.
A family member, who wished to remain anonymous, shared a video of the vicious attack in the hopes that it would “gain traction online” and “pressure the authorities” to act, with the video attracting outrage across the UK and Ireland, including from the country’s Taoiseach (PM) Leo Varadkar.
The relative told PinkNews that the young teen had been “harassed for being gay” since his first year at college and that the bullying is an “ongoing issue”, but that this is the first time the harassment 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, before claiming that both the victim and the attackers attended Beaufort College in Navan, County Meath.
They added that other family members had reported the incident to the police (Garda), but alleged that nothing had come of the report.
The Garda told PinkNews that the incident is not currently being investigated as a hate crime.
“They went to the station the same day and the guards initially said… they had ‘more important matters to attend to,’” the family member claimed.
After worrying that the police would “brush it under the rug”, the relative said they posted the footage online “so the authorities and school would feel pressured to do something about it”.
The relative claimed that the 14-year-old victim sustained injuries during the alleged assault, including “two broken teeth… swelling and injuries” to his head and face, and “some torso injuries”, adding that he left the hospital on the same day he was admitted.
“In this day and age, it’s absolutely disgraceful that someone can be assaulted or persecuted for something out of their control and something so inoffensive. No matter what your look on life is, it shouldn’t come to this,” they added.
“I hope that the attackers face just consequences.”
Homophobic assault in Ireland is ‘horrifying’, says Leo Varadkar
Speaking on Wednesday (17 May), Ireland’s leader Leo Varadkar said that “everyone would condemn [the incident] utterly”.
Varadkar, who is openly gay, went on to say: “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.
“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.
“I understand there is a garda investigation underway and that the victim has been treated for their injuries [and] I would ask anyone who has information to co-operate with the investigation.”
A garda spokesperson confirmed to Independent.ie that the teenager was taken to hospital, where he received treatment for serious facial injuries.
“[We are] aware of a video circulating on social media of this incident and, out of respect for the victim, have requested that people refrain from sharing it,” the spokesperson said.
According to the Irish Times, the Louth and Meath Education and Training Board said that “significant disciplinary proceedings” have begun at the school.
PinkNews has contacted Beaufort College for comment.
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