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‘I’ll see the scar and remember this happened in Ireland,’ says Brazilian victim of unprovoked Limerick assault

Attack on Roberto Gomes dos Santos jnr, who moved to Ireland from a favela in Rio de Janeiro, left him needing six stitches

A Brazilian man who was seriously assaulted in Limerick on Saturday night has said he was asked where he was from before the attack which left him with six stitches above his left eye.

Roberto Gomes dos Santos jnr (33) was on his way home alongside his brother when both were approached by a man on Childers Road who questioned their nationalities before using something “similar to a baseball bat” to hit him in the face.

Mr Gomes dos Santos told The Irish Times he was near the entrance to his home when the man addressing his brother asked, “Where are you from?” and when he said, “Brazil,” within seconds, the assailant hit him above his left eye.

He was taken to University Hospital Limerick to treat his injuries and was discharged a few hours later.


“It all happened very fast. I didn’t even have time to defend myself. I have no doubts that this was a racist assault, because when he [the attacker] realised we were not from Ireland, he said okay and hit us.

“I fell straight to the ground, and then was when I realised I was covered in blood. It was like living a nightmare,” Mr Gomes dos Santos said.

Originally from a favela in Duque de Caxias, a city in Rio de Janeiro’s sprawling suburbs, hemoved to Limerick two years ago to “escape from reality” of living in Rio state due to the high levels of violence and strong presence of multiple crime groups, which he describes as “very difficult”.

“I never went through something like that in Rio. And when I moved to a first-world country in Europe, this happened to me. It’s unbelievable.

“I’m even scared to go out on the street. This was a dream to me, and to be fair, it started very well, but unfortunately, it’s ending up terribly,” he added.

The Brazilian is enrolled in an English language school and working part-time in the hospitality industry.

Mr Gomes dos Santos was planning to return to Brazil in September; however, after the assault, he said: “I want to go home. I will save money for that. I can’t afford to buy the tickets now, as I can barely rent ... I will ask my family for help if I need to.”

“Now I have a scar I will never forget. I’ve had stones thrown at me before, but nothing as serious as what happened. It was horrible.

“I think this needs to be dealt with in a proper way [by Irish authorities]. I’ve been [here] for two years, and I’ve seen an increase in assaults. And this is going to explode.

“Every time I look in the mirror from now on, I’ll see the scar and remember this has happened in Ireland. It’s traumatising,” he said.

The Brazilian community in Limerick and across the country expressed their shock on social media, with one saying: “It has become routine [assaults against migrants]. It’s not just with Brazilians. This shouldn’t be normalised.”

Another said: “I was attacked a few times, but thank God nothing bad happened to me. This is so unfortunate. Get well soon.”

Gardaí said in a statement they are continuing to investigate the assault and no arrests have yet been made.