McEntee urged to fast-track hate crime laws after gay men ‘hunted’ by group with knives

Mcentee Urged To Fast-Track Hate Crime Laws After Gay Men ‘Hunted’ By Group With Knives
Senator Barry Ward said gay men were targeted in Dublin's Phoenix Park because of their sexuality. Photo: PA
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The Minister for Justice has been urged to progress promised hate crime legislation after three gay men were allegedly chased and “hunted” by six men with knives this week.

The incident was brought to light by Fine Gael Senator Barry Ward, who told the Seanad on Wednesday that gay men were targeted in Dublin's Phoenix Park because of their sexuality.


“They were chased down and ... ‘hunted’ by six men with knives,” Mr Ward said. He said the men got away but “but God knows what would have happened if they had not”.

Mr Ward asked “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?”

In a joint statement on Thursday evening, LGBTQ+ community organisations expressed concern about the incident in Phoenix Park and urged Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to progress hate crime laws “without delay”.

"Two separate attacks were reported to LGBT Ireland and Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre, and their social care teams have reached out and are available to support those directly affected by these traumatic events. We urge the public to respect the privacy of the victims at this time," the statement said.


The organisations said the attacks were "shocking but not surprising".

"This incident underscores the urgent need for systemic change to protect vulnerable communities," the statement added. "The delay in Hate Crime legislation is inexcusable. It is time to reject contrived ‘culture war’ attacks on the Bill and prioritise the safety and rights of all citizens and progress the legislation without delay."

Taoiseach Simon Harris promised earlier this year he would pass an amended version of proposed hate crime legislation before the next general election.

Politicians have been wrangling over the wording of the Bill, which aims to introduce laws that would see “hate” become an aggravating factor in certain offences.


Sinn Féin and some Government politicians, including Fine Gael TDs Charlie Flanagan and Michael Ring, have called for the hate speech draft laws to be scrapped entirely.

Sinn Féin’s TDs voted in favour of the Bill in the Dáil last April.

Figures released last month showed that there has been a 12 per cent increase in the number of hate crimes and hate-related incidents reported to gardaí.

The force said some 651 hate crimes and hate-related (non-crime) incidents were recorded in 2023, up from 582 in 2022.

These include 548 hate crimes and 103 hate-related incidents, up from 510 and 72 respectively in 2022.

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