A number of Pride organizations in Ireland are organizing vigils to be held in the coming days in the wake of a homophobic attack in Dublin and two separate murders of men in their homes in Co Sligo.
Evan Somers sustained serious injuries after being attacked on Dublin's Dame Street on April 9, Aidan Moffitt was assaulted and murdered in his home in Co Sligo on April 11, and Michael Snee was also assaulted and murdered in his home in Co Sligo on April 12.
Somers was still recovering in hospital as of Wednesday, while Gardaí in Sligo separately said on Wednesday that one man had been arrested in relation to the murders.
LGBT Ireland said in a statement on Wednesday that it is “shocked” by the “heinous crimes.”
Paula Fagan, CEO of LGBT Ireland, said “This has been a dark week for the LGBTI+ community in Ireland. We are still reeling from the vicious homophobic assault on Dame Street in Dublin in recent days and, now, we are deeply saddened by events in Sligo. Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.
“These devastating crimes bring to the fore the need for comprehensive Hate Crime legislation, and I – along with other sectoral representatives – will be speaking with lawmakers over the coming days to stress the need for them to redouble their efforts and ensure the forthcoming legislation is effective, comprehensive and enacted with urgency.
“The LGBTI+ Community has the right to feel and be safe on our streets, and online.”
Fagan added: “The focus of recent events must remain firmly on the perpetrators of violence against LGBTI+ people. These crimes are on the extreme end of a spectrum of violence experienced by the LGBTI+ community and highlight the vulnerabilities and very real fears of the wider community.”
“In 2021 our National LGBT Helpline received 21 calls because of violence, and we fear that many more people do not report hate incidents to us or to the Gardaí, due to the normalisation of homophobia and transphobia in society.
“Work done by the Hate and Hostility Research Group at the University of Limerick in 2019, revealed that 1 in 5 of those surveyed had been punched, hit, or physically attacked in public for being LGBTI+, and 1 in 3 had been threatened with physical violence. These statistics are stark reminder of the violence that our community still face."
Fagan said LGBT Ireland is aware that the recent events have left members of the community "reeling," and is encouraging people to reach out to The National LGBT Helpline for emotional support on freephone 1800 929 539, seven days a week, from 6:30 pm to 10 pm Monday – Thursday, from 4 pm to 10 pm Fridays, and from 4 pm to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
New number! With 1890 numbers becoming obsolete by December 31st 2021, the LGBT Helpline now has a new freephone number *1800 929 539*.
The Helpline and Online Chat Service is available 7 days a week: Mon – Thur (6.30pm to 10pm), Friday's (4pm to 10pm) and Sat-Sun (4pm to 6pm). pic.twitter.com/CY62K05Kqd— LGBT Ireland (@LGBT_ie) November 24, 2021
LGBT Ireland also appealed for the general public to assist An Garda Síochána with their inquiries and investigation. Any person with information or concerns can contact their local Garda Station. Members of the Garda National Diversity and Integration Unit are also on standby to assist at 01-6663150.
In the wake of the two separate murders in Co Sligo this week, a number of groups are organizing vigils:
- Sligo Pride: Friday, April 15, 6 pm outside the Town Hall
- Dublin Pride: Friday, April 15, 6 pm at Dáil Éireann
- Drogheda Pride: Friday, April 15, 6 pm at the Tholsel
- LGBT Kilkenny: Friday, April 15, 6:30 pm at Town Hall
- Wexford Pride: Friday, April 15, 7 pm on Wexford Quay
- Galway: Saturday, April 16, 7 pm in Eyre Square
- Limerick Pride: Monday, April 18, 6 pm in Arthur's Quay Park