The family of a teen who was filmed being assaulted in Navan, Co Meath has spoken out, as well as Ireland's Taoiseach and Minister for Justice as police continue to investigate.
"No 14-year-old should be beaten like that for anything at all, especially because of who he is,” a relative of the victim said, according to The Irish Mirror.
“He is only a child and it happened across the road from a family member, where he was trying to get to.
"We are shocked, horrified, and upset at what can happen in this day and age.
"It was a number of people against one boy, while others filmed it and posted it online. That is horrific and wrong."
The family member added that the teen "is doing ok and being very brave about it but I don't think the whole brevity of the incident or shock has fully hit him yet.
"What happened is out there now and although what happened to him can't be undone, I hope something can be done so no other child suffers like this."
On Wednesday, May 17, footage of the alleged assault on the teen in Navan, Co Meath circulated online, drawing millions of views.
The video shows a teen being punched, knocked to the ground, and kicked by a group of teens in what is being described as a 'coordinated attack.'
At least one other teen attempted to break up the attack, but not before the victim was seriously injured.
A Gardaí spokesperson told IrishCentral on Wednesday that they are investigating the attack that occurred at approximately 2:30 pm on Monday, May 15.
The Gardaí spokesperson said the victim, a male juvenile, attended Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda "where he received treatment for serious facial injuries."
An Garda Síochána, who requested that the video of the incident not be shared any further online "out of respect for the victim in this case," is appealing to any person with information on the assault to contact Navan Garda Station at 046 9079930.
Most of the teens in the video were wearing jackets that have been associated with Beaufort College Navan. The incident, however, did not happen on school grounds.
The Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB), which is responsible for Beaufort College Navan, will not tolerate the incident, Independent Councillor Nick Killian, a member of the Board of LMETB, told LMFM on Wednesday.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar responded to the incident, sending a message to the victim that "life does get better."
On Thursday, Varadkar said on RTÉ Radio's Today with Claire Byrne: “I grew up in 1980s, 1990s Ireland. I had a great childhood, but, ultimately, I was the brown guy with the funny name who a lot of people suspected was gay.
“I would have some insight into maybe what it's like not to be the popular kid in school."
He continued: “All I’d say to the young man that was in that video [is I] really feel for him. [He] shouldn’t have been subjected to violence, shouldn’t have been humiliated by having that video posted online. It is a very sick kind of individual that posts pictures or videos with the purpose of humiliating other people.
“Also, the bystanders. Nobody intervened to help him.
“I can only imagine how he feels now – Very isolated, very alone, probably even embarrassed, maybe a bit ashamed.
“But, for a lot of people who maybe had a hard time in school, life does get a lot better. You get to go to college, you get to spend time with the people who are much more like you.
“I just hope that he has a supportive family, supportive parents and can see that.”
"I think for a lot of people that maybe had a hard time in school life does get a lot better."— RTÉ Radio 1 (@RTERadio1) May 18, 2023
Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar talks to @TodaywithClaire about the violent attack on a student in Co. Meath on Monday. pic.twitter.com/Epw7HPEgAL
Meanwhile, Ireland's Minister for Justice Simon Harris contacted the family of the victim. A spokesperson for Harris told the Irish Times: “It is clear the young man suffered significant injuries from a co-ordinated attack.
"That is unacceptable and should not happen to any person."
The Taoiseach has also signaled his intent to contact the family of the victim.