”A kissing protest has taken place outside the Dáil to highlight the lack of hate-crime legislation to prevent homophobic attacks. The ‘Shift The Hate Away’ demonstration comes after two attacks on gay men in recent weeks because of their sexuality.
Campaigners claim the recent attacks on Danilo Matta and Marc Power are just two of many that take place, with most going unrecorded. Mr Matta was attacked by a group of six after kissing his boyfriend outside his flat in September, while last month Mr Power was attacked by a group of at least four after being lured to the location by a fake dating profile.
These men publicly shared their stories, but campaigners claim similar incidences are often left unrecorded. After the attack, Mr Matta expressed his desire for the Government to introduce proper legislation. “My wish is that no one should experience hurt in this kind of way anymore,” he told GCN.
“It’s horrible. I just want Dublin to be a bit more safe for everyone. Not just gay people, but for everyone.”
Organiser Niall Cowley said they just want to be able to show affection like anyone else. Mr Cowley said: “For a long time Dublin and Ireland had become very progressive and the LGBT community felt safer in our community. “In the last few months there has been a frightening surge of hate acts, so we wanted to react to that.”
Lisa Connell, managing editor of GCN, hopes the event will inspire change in legislation and attitudes. “The increase of violence is an alarming new development for Ireland’s tenacious LGBTI+ community, however we have the power to take action. We will show that these incidents of hate are not a true reflection of our city and celebrate the freedom to express affection publicly, no matter who you are.”