Three gay men ‘hunted’ by six men with knives in Dublin park turned away by police as ‘there was no CCTV’

Pheonix Park in Dublin
Pheonix Park in Dublin (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Laurel Lodged)

Three gay men have said they were ‘hunted’ by a group of six men with knives in a Dublin park this week.

The disturbance occurred in Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe, on Monday night (17 May 2024).

It is claimed the men were turned away by police because there was no CCTV footage of the incident.

The victims later contacted Barry Ward, a member of the Irish Senate, who has now spoken publicly about the matter.

“What on earth is going on that this still happens in Ireland”

Addressing the Seanad yesterday (Thursday 19 June 2024), Ward said: “‘They were chased down and, as he said, hunted by six men with knives. … God knows what would have happened if they had not [escaped].”

“They were told [by police] there was no CCTV so they could not identify the crowd,” the Irish Fine Gael politician continued. “That’s not good enough.

Ward furthermore added: “There needs to be further education for the park rangers or for other Garda present in the Phoenix Park to protect people because attacks are absolutely unacceptable.

“What on earth is going on that this still happens in Ireland in 2024 when every right-thinking member of society recognised the normality of sexual relationships between people of the same gender or same sex?”

“The Community Policing Unit … have been in contact with LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Gardaí, the state police force of the Republic of Ireland, appealed for witnesses and further victims of such incidents to reach out with any information that could be relevant.

“Gardaí are aware of an incident alleged to have occurred in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on Monday night, June 14, 2024.

“Gardaí responded at 11:35pm but following a lengthy patrol of the area no person made any formal report to An Garda Síochána [the national police and security service of Ireland].  

“An Garda Síochána appeals to anyone with direct knowledge or who has been a victim of such an incident in the area to contact An Garda Síochána either at Cabra Garda Station on 01 666 7400, the Diversity Unit at the Garda National Community Engagement Bureau on 01 666 3150 or through an advocacy group.

“Following the reports of this alleged incident, An Garda Síochána through the Garda National Community Engagement Bureau and Community Policing Unit in Cabra Garda Station have been in contact with LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups.”

Ward also said: “We have come so far as a country in acknowledging the special nature of people who have pride in their sexuality and are showing that to us.

“It feels like we have come so far and yet we also know there are people in this country who do not acknowledge or accept it.”

“Hostility and prejudice”

Ireland is generally considered a safe haven for LGBTQ people after achieving marriage equality by popular vote in 2015. It also boasts an out gay Prime Minster, or Taoiseach, in Leo Varadkar.

However, as reported by Metro, the country has recently seen a rise in homophobic hate crime.

Lesbian couple Robyn Deane and Kate McCabe, for example, were attacked by a ‘rage-filled’ 15-year-old boy in a bus shelter in 2022.

Also in 2022 was the case of Yousef Palani murdering two gay men – Michael Snee and Aidan Moffitt – and decapitating one due to “hostility and prejudice” towards gay men.

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