An aerial view of Phoenix Park in Dublin Source: Getty Images

Reports: Gay Men 'Hunted' in Public Park by Knife-Wielding Pack of Attackers

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

An Irish senator called for more police patrols after a June incident in Dublin's Phoenix Park in which a gang of six men armed with knives allegedly "hunted" a small group of gay friends.

The Irish Times reports that Barry Ward, a lawmaker with Ireland's Fine Gael party, told the Irish Senate that he had been informed of the incident by one of three men who had allegedly been hunted by the knife-wielding pack.

The men were beset by the gang, Ward recounted, adding that though the men escaped the predators, "God knows what would have happened if they had not".

The men were "turned away by police because there was no CCTV," Metro reported, after which "they contacted Barry Ward".

Ward slammed how the men "were told there was no CCTV so they could not identify" the alleged attackers.

"That's not good enough," Ward declared

Ward decried the lack of CCTV cameras in the park, and called for increased police patrols and better training for park rangers.

He also slammed retrograde social attitudes that have not kept pace with the times.

Ward posed the question of "what on earth is going on that this still happens in Ireland in 2024," and pointed to "the normality of sexual relationships between people of the same gender or same sex?"

Ward added, "These are ordinary people walking down the street holding hands getting verbal abuse from people who do not seem to understand that they are perfectly entitled to do that," and took note of June being celebrated as Pride month in many places around the world.

Ireland, he said, has "come so far as a country in acknowledging the special nature of people who have pride in their sexuality and are showing that to us," The Irish Times relayed. "We have acknowledged their right to equal access to marriage and other things in this country."

The Acting Leader of the Senate, Fiona O'Loughlin, also spoke out against the alleged incident and anti-LGTBQ+ social sentiment, saying, "we have changed our legislation" to decriminalize queer individuals and ensure their equal rights. "Unfortunately," she added, "there are people who have not changed their minds and hearts."

The police department acknowledged that officers had "responded at 11:35 pm" on June 19, the night of the alleged incident, "but following a lengthy patrol of the area no person made any formal report to An Garda Síochána," the Irish police force.

The police department "added 'anyone with direct knowledge or who has been a victim of such an incident in the area' should contact An Garda Síochána at Cabra Garda station or the diversity unit at the Garda National Community Engagement Bureau," the Irish Times went on to report.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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