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'Appalled' Tánaiste calls for hate crime laws as rugby player injured in 'homophobic attack'

Evan Somers (23) said that a man approached him on Dame Street and “called me a f****t before beating the s**t out of me”

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Pictured: Evan's injuries (Photo: @ebintosh)

Pictured: Evan's injuries (Photo: @ebintosh)

Pictured: Evan's injuries (Photo: @ebintosh)

Leo Varadkar has said that he is “shocked and appalled” after a man was allegedly assaulted in a homophobic attack in Dublin over the weekend.

The Tánaiste was responding to a tweet posted on Sunday in which the alleged victim shared photos of his injuries, including a fractured eye socket, two fractures in his ankle, a dislocated ankle, some cuts and bruises, and other minor injuries.

Evan Somers (23) explained that a man approached him on Dame Street, not far from The George, at around 3.45am and “called me a f****t before beating the s**t out of me.”

He added: “We’ve come a long way but still have such a long way to go in terms of equality.”

Later, he clarified that he “genuinely didn’t share [his story] for attention” but “felt like it needed to be seen instead of hidden away because this is the reality of what so many LGBTQ+ people go through regularly.”

Sharing the original tweet, Mr Varadkar pledged to put pressure on Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to prioritise hate crime laws and increase garda presence on the streets of Dublin.

“Shocked and appalled that an assault of this nature occurred in our capital city,” he said.

“Will discuss with Helen McEntee re Garda presence on our street and new hate crime laws. Sorry about what happened. Wishing you a swift recovery.”

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

 

Former Culture Club singer Boy George also responded to the tweet, writing: “What did your freedom to be who you are stir in this vile creature. I'm sorry for what have been through and hope they catch him. There are satellites that see everything. #Equality”

Mr Somers is a member of the Emerald Warriors RFC, Ireland’s first LGBT+ inclusive rugby team.

In a statement on Twitter, Emerald Warriors said it was “devastated” by the attack.

“We are devastated and shocked following the attack on our fellow teammate / Warrior last night. This is Ireland 2022. As many of our stakeholders tell us, homophobic attacks and slurs are increasing. We are here for you.”

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“As a club we strive to be part of the positive cultural change for our LGBTQ+ family in our communities and especially in our rugby community.”

Leinster Rugby also shared a message of support on Instagram, it said: “Wishing Evan a speedy recovery #rugbyfamily.”

Gardaí have now launched a probe into the assault and are investigating “any hate related motivation.”

A garda spokesperson said: “The injured party was taken to St James’ Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

“No arrests have been made at this time.

“Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses or for anyone with any information in relation to this assault to contact Pearse Street on 01 6669000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.”

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