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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Mark Sheehan

'I could feel blood splattering on me': Man (26) suffers homophobic assault on Dublin Bus

The incident happened in the early hours of yesterday morning.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 16th 2022, 1:38 PM

A 26-YEAR-old man was left with serious facial injuries after an unprovoked homophobic assault on a Dublin Bus in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Mark Sheehan, 26, was returning from a night out with friends when he was headbutted by a man.

Mark and his friends had been returning from a night out in The George in Dublin city centre and had gotten on the 15 bus shortly before 4am. 

He said that he and his friends had been out for a double birthday celebration and were dressed “a bit extravagant and fun” for the night. A group of young men then began to make fun of the way they were dressed. 

“You can hear them saying things like ‘queer’ and things like that. We’re just rolling our eyes. We all just pop in our earphones and off we go and we’re turning up the music and while we’re on the bus they’re trying to take the crown off my friend’s head that we got him for a joke present for his birthday.

I was doing it with a smile saying ‘please leave us alone’ and I was shaking. There were some girls on the bus who were telling them off but anyway they continued.

The bus arrived into Templeogue village in south Dublin and Mark began to put away his earphones and prepared to leave the bus. This is when the night turned violent.

“I start taking out my earphones and I can hear them say ‘you emo freak’ and ‘f****t’ and all this shite. I just rolled my eyes and told them to shut up and act their age.”

It was at this point, one of the men kicked Mark’s earphones out of his hands.

As he scrambled to pick up the loose earbuds, Mark addressed the man and asked him what possessed him to kick his earphones.

“When I’m up the front of the bus I say back to them that ‘I hope you feel proud about how you acted tonight’.

“Before I know it I’m looking at my feet, my vision went and came back and I look up and another guy is looking down at me. I can feel blood splattering on me, I can see it dripping on my shoes. 

I go up to the driver and I say I’ve been attacked on this bus and we’ve been shouted at. He just kept saying that I needed to get off the bus and call an ambulance.

Mark was brought to hospital where gardaí took a statement. 

He has made a statement to Dublin Bus and requested the footage of his assault. 

Political reaction

Sinn Féin’s Justice spokesperson, Martin Kenny, has reiterated his party’s calls for a dedicated transport police unit in the wake of what he described as “another cowardly attack” on our public transport system. 

He said: “Everyone has a right to feel safe on our streets, in their homes, and going about their daily business. I wish to extend my solidarity with the victim of this cowardly act of violence. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope that there is sufficient CCTV footage to bring the perpetrator to justice.

“The fact that this attack happened on a Dublin Bus once again underlines the need to establish a transport policing system.

“Since then, we have seen a further deterioration in the conditions faced on some services by staff and passengers. 

“This includes open drug use and drug dealing, harassment and assault of passengers and staff, excessive alcohol use, and intimidation. 

“Last night’s homophobic attack is the latest example of this, and it is simply not acceptable any longer for the government to sit on their hands while this continues to fester. 

“If we are going to encourage more people to use our public transport links, we must ensure that everyone feels safe when doing so.

“I was dismayed in November when the Minister denied the need for a transport policing unit. But when I revisited the idea with the Minister again in February, the answers I received were the same – the Department of Justice and the NTA feel there is no requirement for a unit of An Garda Síochána to be dedicated to transport policing.”

A garda spokesman confirmed an investigation has started. 

He said: “Gardaí are investigating all the circumstances of an assault on a man in his 20s that occurred on the Firhouse Road at approximately 4am on Sunday, 14th August 2022.

“The injured party was taken to Tallaght University Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. No arrests have been made at this time.

“Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses or for anyone with any information in relation to this assault to contact Tallaght Garda Station on 01 666 6000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.”

A spokesperson for Dublin Bus added: “Dublin Bus can confirm that we have received a complaint regarding an incident involving a customer on Route 15 on Sunday 14 August 2022. This incident is being fully investigated.”