"I looked down and saw blood covering my shoes. I went down to the driver asking him to call the gardai immediately and not to move the bus”
Mark Sheehan (26) recounted his ordeal in a series of tweets that reveal how he was returning from a night out with friends in the early hours of Sunday morning when he was headbutted by another passenger.
“Last night, just before 4am, I was attacked on the 15 bus in Tempelogue. A group of young men sat behind me and proceeded to mock and jeer at my friends and I for the duration of the journey out of town,” Mark tweeted.
“I used my earphones to drown them out, and when taking them off to place back in the case I heard even more insults. "Queer" "emo freak" "f****t" to name a few. I turned around and said to act their age.
“This prompted one of the young men to kick the earphones from my hand and across the bus.
"I immediately tried finding them as we were at our stop, and was being laughed at by what felt like the whole bus while crawling to find them.
“My friends were just insisting we get off as they were terrified, and I tried pleading with people to find them. I was asking why he kicked them from my hand. This resulted in another person to start threatening me.
“At this point I was leaving the upper floor and the person who had kicked me ran up and headbutted me.
"I looked down and saw blood covering my shoes. I went down to the driver asking him to call the gardai immediately and not to move the bus.
“He told me to get off before they come down and cause more trouble. No one intervened and the driver took off with the attacker still on the bus. I am completely shook up by this. I spent the following six hours in the hospital.”
Mark added: “I don't understand why they singled us out and antagonized us so much. I have lost my property and potentially have a broken nose. I am to go for a scan after the swelling subsides.”
This morning, Mark thanked people for their “ words of encouragement”. He added that after a sleepless night, reading all the supportive messages “helped me not to spiral”.
“I am very sore and swollen. My mind is racing constantly and analysing what I could have done differently.
“Today will be spent recollecting the events with my friends who were onboard. I have some hazy memories from the headbutt and adrenaline. I want to recount every word said so we can understand how it possibly escalated to this.
“What I can say for sure is no one should be antagonized when clearly scared. No one should have to fend themselves when just trying to go home. I should not have been mocked, kicked and headbutted. Scumbags like that should not be let on in the first place.”
Mark’s terrifying experience has prompted numerous comments and messages of support with one writing: “I hope you're alright! I know someone who had something similar happen and it's horrible! I'm glad you managed to get away before they did anything worse! Fingers crossed the police can do something.”
Another added: “This is nothing short of horrifying and whilst I’m glad you’re in a safe situation now I’m so sorry you had to go through this in the first place. I’m really ashamed of the behaviour of some of the young people living here. Please reach out to me or the other furs if you need.”
Another said: “God I am awfully sorry! This is truly utterly disgusting ! Thank you for speaking out as I know from past experiences this is honestly incredibly difficult.”
Gardaí said they are investigating all the circumstances of an assault on a man in his 20s that occurred on the Firhouse Road at approximately 4am on Sunday.
"The injured party was taken to Tallaght University Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries,” gardai said.
“No arrests have been made at this time.”
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses or for anyone with any information to contact Tallaght Garda Station on 01 666 6000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.
Sunday World has asked Dublin Bus for comment.