Irish police have arrested three teenagers in connection with the vicious assault of a 14-year-old boy in Navan earlier this week. The attack is being treated as a hate crime. 

The assault took place in a residential neighborhood in Navan, in County Meath on Monday, May 15, and was allegedly carried out by a number of teenagers in school uniforms. 

Gardaí (Irish police) confirmed on Friday (May 19) that three teenage boys have been arrested in connection with the assault. The three teens are currently being held at Garda Stations in the Meath region under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. 

The victim, who allegedly suffered a concussion, serious bruising, and broken teeth during the attack, was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, in Drogheda, where he was treated for serious facial injuries. The victim is believed to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Gardaí have described the attack as a hate crime and have also urged people to stop sharing a 30-second video of the incident, which has been viewed more than five million times since it was posted on social media. The video showed the victim being punched and kicked numerous times by five teenagers. He was also kicked in the head as he attempted to crawl away from the attack. 

The Irish Independent reports that gardaí expect to make further arrests in connection with the assault. 

Minister for Education Norma Foley told RTÉ News that she has been in contact with the boy's school, adding that she believes the victim will return to school in a few days. 

LGBTQ+ youth organization, Belong To, released a statement condemning the assault and calling for more protection for young members of the community. 

"Belong To is horrified about a serious assault which took place on Monday of this week and led to a student being treated in hospital. We send our thoughts to the young person injured and their loved ones, and wish them a full recovery," reads the statement.

"We know from 2022 research that 76% of LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe in our post-primary schools. This is not good enough. 

"We must prioritize the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ youth who are seriously at risk. The rise in anti-LGBTQ+ violence we have witnessed across Ireland over the past 18 months is deeply distressing.

"We urgently need hate crime and hate speech legislation to be introduced to send a clear message that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is not acceptable, and a clear roadmap from Government on how to tackle the rise in discrimination and hate targeting minority communities." 

Belong To's statement regarding Monday's assault on a school student.

If you need support at this time, please reach out to our youth workers here:

The full statement is also available on our website, here:

— Belong To (@Belong_To) May 18, 2023

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also condemned the incident, stating that it seemed that the victim was targeted because "they are different". 

"They were humiliated and physically assaulted. I think everyone would condemn it utterly," Varadkar said.