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Gay community under attack as hate crimes in Ireland rise 29pc in ten-year high

David Babington (43) was on a night out with friends which turned from joy to horror when an anonymous person hit him a punch which destroyed his eye socket

The damage inflicted to David Babington's eye after being assaulted.

David speaking to RTÉ''s Prime Time show.

A close up of David's damaged eye.

Níall FeiritearSunday World

As a new report shows homophobic attacks across Europe are at a ten-year high, one Cork man has described the unprovoked assault last month which changed his life.

David Babington (43) was on a night out with friends which turned from joy to horror when an anonymous person hit him a punch which destroyed his eye socket.

“It was a massive punch and I went down, it’s blurry and hazy,” David said.

Figures released by An Garda Síochána last week, show that hate crimes reported in Ireland rose by 29% last year. Of all reported hate-motivated attacks and incidents, those related to sexuality accounted for 22%.

That was second only to race, which accounted for 32% of all reported incidents targeting what are described as vulnerable communities.

Speaking on RTÉ’s flagship current affairs show, Prime Time, the Cork stylist described how an evening enjoying drinks and dinner turned into a nightmare.

David speaking to RTÉ''s Prime Time show.

“We went then to see a live band and separated around 11:30. Someone started saying ‘you f*cking queer, you f*cking faggot,’ I knew something was about to happen.

“Initially, I was thinking ‘ignore it’ but when I heard stamping feet, I knew I would be physically harmed. It was a massive punch to the eye, I went down, blurry, hazy.

“It was only later in the elevator I saw myself,” said David.

Mr Babington’s young daughter was traumatized by his appearance after the evil assault.

“My husband couldn’t believe it, he was horrified when he saw me. Our daughter, she was petrified of me.

“She kept saying ‘no Daddy, no’ and pushing me away,” David said, visibly upset.

The public’s reaction has been very positive but amongst all the kindness, were a few disturbing comments.

“There has been 99.9% support. Tremendous comments, people send flowers and cards. There was a percentage which was horrific. One person said: ‘it’s a shame he didn’t put you in a morgue.’

A close up of David's damaged eye.

“People told me about being gay bashed, a 16-year-old and 23-year-old beaten up.

“The attack made me feel isolated and vulnerable. Reminding me of being younger and being assaulted before. To be beaten up again for my sexuality put me back in a dark place.

“I believed Ireland changed but it hasn’t. It’s okay to be gay but not too gay; ‘Stick to a box,’ not seen or heard.

“People still have such hate towards the gay community. I have to try to protect myself and my family,” David added.

Horrific incidents in Dublin have seen entertainers attacked working at popular The George bar on Dame Street.

Hate crime laws are being introduced in Ireland following this increase in attacks on the gay community, with a new bill creating specific hate crime offences for the first time.

The Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences Bill 2022 is currently in its fourth stage before being passed into law.

The new legislation will criminalise any intentional or reckless communication or behaviour that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or persons because they are associated with a protected characteristic. The penalty for this offence will be up to five years' imprisonment.

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