A young man in his 20s was assaulted while on a late night bus home in Dublin city in the early hours of Sunday, in a suspected homophobic attack.
Mark Sheehan, (26) from southwest Dublin, had been out socialising last Saturday night in The George nightclub on Dame Street with three friends, celebrating two of their birthdays.
While taking a late night bus home with his friends, Mr Sheehan was assaulted by a young man on the bus, after being called a “f****t” by a group of men.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Sheehan said at the end of their night out his group of friends got the number 15 Dublin Bus home southbound from the city centre.
Sitting upstairs on the bus he said a group of younger men he believed were in their late teens got on and sat behind him and his friends.
One of the group of young men tried to take a toy crown Mr Sheehan said one of his friends had been wearing for his birthday, at which point he and his friends began to get verbally abused by some men on the bus.
“You’re trying to get home and you’re getting abuse hurled at you,” he said. Mr Sheehan said he was called a “freak” and the homophobic slur “f****t”.
“We were terrified. We regret not getting a taxi. I was clearly shaken,” he said. Mr Sheehan said he turned around to the group and told them to act their age.
As the bus was near Templeogue at around 4am, Mr Sheehan said one young man kicked his earphones and their case from his hand. When he got down to look under the seats for his earphones he said he was verbally abused again.
When he and his friends went to get off the bus Mr Sheehan said one of the young men got up and headbutted him in the face. “I looked down, my jeans and everything were covered in blood,” he said.
Mr Sheehan said he asked the bus driver to stop the bus while the Garda were called, but the driver advised him to get off for his safety and then the bus drove away. “My face was gashed open ... I was bawling my eyes out for about an hour,” he said.
The attitude of some young men to the LGBTQ+ community was “very toxic,” he said. “I can’t even go out for a nice night with friends. The frustration is raging,” he said.
A Garda spokesman confirmed gardaí are investigating an assault of a man in his 20s that occurred on the Firhouse Road, South Dublin, at 4am on Sunday.
“The injured party was taken to Tallaght University Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. No arrests have been made at this time,” he said.
A spokesman for Dublin Bus confirmed it had received a complaint about the incident, which he said was being fully investigated.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses or for anyone with any information related to the assault to contact Tallaght Garda station on 01 666 6000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.