A man who was assaulted in Dublin city in a homophobic attack last weekend says he believes Ireland has a long way to go.
Evan Somers was badly beaten near Dame Street at around 3.00am on Sunday morning.
He suffered a fractured eye socket, two fractures and a dislocation in his ankle, as well as some other minor injuries.
Speaking exclusively to Lunchtime Live , Evan says it all happened very fast.
"What I remember is I left The George with my cousin and her partner, her boyfriend.
"We were walking down Dame Street... and basically this guy came over, walking past my cousin and her boyfriend, made a beeline for me.
"From there he just kind of got in my face, got very aggressive and was just making fun of me immediately.
"I think he was calling me 'baldy c-word' - because I don't have the best hair - and basically calling me lots of different names, certain gay slurs starting with 'f'.
"Eventually that just led to him taking a step back, taking a step forward - calling me the f-word again, the gay slur, and then punching me in face.
"So he punched me in my right eye socket... that led to my broken eye socket, or fractured eye socket.
"And from there, to be honest I don't remember a lot - I did get knocked on conscious I believe".
Last night a stranger called me a faggot before beating the shit out of me. He left me with a fractured eye socket, 2 fractures in my ankle, a dislocation in my ankle & some other minor injuries. We’ve come a long way but still have such a long way to go in terms of equality. pic.twitter.com/aAA8OQ83QY
— Evan (@ebintosh) April 10, 2022
Evan says he's unsure when he hurt his ankle: "Everything just happened so quick, I'm still trying to fuse everything together.
"I'm still in communication with the Gardaí, who are hoping to have the CCTV very soon".
But he believes the attacker saw them coming out of the gay nightclub.
"This couldn't be more random - I imagine he saw us walk away from The George, possibly out of The George.
"He went over to me; I'm clearly - in the nicest way - I'm clearly the gay one of the group, it's not something I try to hide.
"But I think it took me just a second to realise what happened.
"I think it's easy to get wrapped up in this notion that Ireland is this perfect, kind of little, accepting country.
"In many ways it is - the Marriage [Equality] referendum and everything in 2015 was obviously amazing.
"But it's easy to think the story stops there, or the struggle stops there - but clearly we still have a long way to go".
Hate crime legislation
He says changes to the law around hate crimes needs to be prioritised.
"I know legislation was passed by the Government, that has been published for hate crime law, but that needs to be prioritised now.
"A new law has to be brought into place and made effective - one that makes a difference.
"Not just a law that's going to sit there to make things look better: one that actually brings justice to people - not just like myself - but to everyone else that this happens to.
"It is much more common I think than I would have ever believed before this weekend".
And Evan says the fact that his tweet got such a response says a lot.
"It blew up and I was very surprised, but I think it says a lot of where we are in society.
"That people are sick of being kind of walked all over - and I think people are kind of saying 'enough is enough'.
"It's 2022.... you shouldn't be assaulted for being different in any way."
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said he was "shocked and appalled" at the attack, while Minister for Inclusion Josepha Madigan said Gardaí need to be visible on the city streets.