Gardaí treating attack on gay man as a hate crime

Attackers beat Marc Powers with weapons and called him a ‘f****t’

Marc Power, from Coolock, north Dublin, was lured to the assault on Tuesday night by what he believes to have been a fake profile on the gay dating app Grindr. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Marc Power, from Coolock, north Dublin, was lured to the assault on Tuesday night by what he believes to have been a fake profile on the gay dating app Grindr. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Gardaí are treating the assault of a man by a group of youths in north Dublin as a hate crime.

Marc Power, a gay man from Coolock, north Dublin, was lured to the assault on Tuesday night by what he believes to have been a fake profile on the gay dating app Grindr.

His attackers beat him with weapons and called him a “f****t” while laughing, he said.

On Thursday, gardaí confirmed it was investigating the incident as a hate crime. There is no specific offence of hate crime in Ireland but judges can take such motivations into account when sentencing.

It is unusual for the Garda to publicly classify an incident as a hate crime. In recent months Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has introduced a series of new measures to tackle racial and homophobic abuse and attacks.

Last week the Garda introduced for the first time a “working definition” for a hate crime.

The Garda website defines it: “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on actual or perceived age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender.”

Measures are also promised to enhance reporting and recording of hate crime. For the first time gardaí will be able to record on the Pulse computer system if an incident is a hate crime.

They will also be able to record “hate incidents”, which are defined as: “Any non-crime incident which is perceived by any person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on actual or perceived age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender.”

No arrests

Mr Power was attacked while sitting in his car on Tuesday at an arranged meeting spot outside the Odeon Cinema in Coolock by a group of at least four young men. The attack took place at about 10.30pm, according to a Garda spokesman. No arrests have been made.

Mr Power is in his early 50s and had agreed to meet who he believed to be another man for a date. He said that while driving to the cinema he received a message from the Grindr account asking him to instead meet in a poorly lit secluded park beside the cinema.

He said he refused and continued on to the carpark, where his car was set upon several minutes later.

“I pulled in to a spot. Then a group of teenagers seemed to come out of a bush and rushed towards the car. They started punching me in the face. One must have been wearing a ring on his finger as I started bleeding everywhere,” he said.