Sickening attack on youth in Navan exposes rise in hate-filled crime

Last week, I saw blurred out images of a 14-year-old (a child in my opinion) being beaten, dehumanised, objectified, mistreated, and bothered by a vicious mob in a public area, in broad daylight in Navan, County Meath, in what appeared to be a sickening, sustained and unprovoked attack.

This assault has not only shocked me, it has (quite rightly) shocked our entire country. And because some voyeuristic individual chose to video the entire attack and then share it online, as opposed to stepping in and stopping it, the horrific scene has made world headlines.

Five teenagers who were arrested by Gardaí as part of an investigation into this alleged ‘hate crime’ – which,  according to reports left the victim with broken teeth, concussion, and extensive bruising – were released without charge.

Last October, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee published the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022. This piece of legislation criminalises any intentional or reckless communication or behaviour which is likely to incite violence or hatred against another person, the penalty being up to five years’ in prison. However, as those who were videoed perpetrating these heinous acts on this child are, due to their age, also classified as children, they’ll be provided with protections under the Children’s Act 2001, which regulates the treatment of minors found in breach of the law.

In short, if charged and found guilty, it’s likely that, in a move which prevents them entering the justice system, they’ll be assigned to a Juvenile Liaison Officer (JLO) who’ll ‘liaise’ with their families. This means, while the poor kid who was humiliated and battered bears the brunt of his attackers’ sickening behaviour, possibly carrying the emotional and physical scars for life, by contrast, the people responsible waltz away without any fear of retribution or punishment.

I don’t know about you readers, but as we live in a country which prides itself on being progressive and inclusive, in a country which was the first in the world to legalise same-sex marriage (by popular vote I might add), I find it very unsettling that such incidents are taking place. In fact, not only are these crimes happening, they’ve significantly increased, with figures from Gardaí showing a total of 582 hate-related incidents were reported in 2022 compared to 448 in 2021.

These statistics tell me that bias-related violence against those who are viewed as being ‘different’ or who live their lives outside of the so-called ‘norm’ are worryingly widespread.

As this is a family publication, I cannot share what I think of the people who carried out this assault, nor can I share what legal actions I’d like to see taken to make sure they never again raise their fists or their feet to another human being.

What I will do is applaud Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for saying the parents of those who assaulted this teen have a responsibility to deal with this, and I echo his slating of those who videoed the attack as being ‘sick individuals’.

It’s my belief as a mother, and as a relative of much-loved, much-cherished, much-respected and much-adored gay and lesbian family members, that hatred is an emotion clearly embedded in the psyche of the abhorrent individuals involved in last week’s attack.

I suspect (I could be wrong) that these aggressors are themselves clearly unsure of their own social positions, or by how they fit into this world. If this is the case, perhaps those who’re raising them could, as a matter of urgency, and in a bid to prevent this from happening to another child, get their parental act together and address the underlying cause before it’s too late.

While Leo said he ‘would have some insight into what it’s like not to be the popular kid in school’ I’d like to say, following his condemnation and his reaching out to the family of the child at the centre of this attack, he’s definitely gone up in my estimation.

My heart goes out to this child and their family. I wish them all a speedy recovery. If anyone needs help/support, please log on to


Royal rumpus… but I thought Matt’s review was hilarious!

The Taoiseach’s partner Dr Matt Barrett made what were described as ‘irreverent’ comments on his private Instagram platform, from inside Westminster Abbey on the occasion of the coronation of Britain’s King Charles, and said comments have raised the ire of prudish snowflakes both here and across the water. Would you all ever get a life – I thought his Harry Potter comparison to be hilarious and not at all ‘highly insulting’ as some mirthless minnies have sniffed!

For the record, while The Data Protection Acts 1988-2018 offers us protections regarding our personal data (remember Matt made his comments on his private account), there are limits to the reach of this law. What this means (as far as I believe) is that there are exemptions, as in Matt’s comments (again though privately expressed to around 350 followers), were able to enter the public arena because they were published on a social media site.

The result was open season on the good doctor, the consequences of which negatively affected his life partner’s (our country’s leader) standing, forcing him to publicly address the issue, saying he had ‘spoken’ to Matt about the posts. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during that conversation! In turn, poor Matt had to ‘unreservedly apologise for any offence caused’.

I’m particularly annoyed at Irish designer Paul Costelloe (a gentleman I’ve interviewed in the past, finding him to be very nice on each occasion, and extremely funny and forthright when airing his own views on many subjects), for criticising Matt for ‘embarrassing’ the Irish, describing his actions as ‘unbelievable carry-on’.

Really Paul? If anyone should be red-faced regarding this coronation it should be the British royal family, whose own Prince Andrew’s nosedive from grace seems to have escaped the wrath of everyone involved in putting together this outlandish, pompous display of lavishness, all while royal subjects struggled to pay their bills.

I imagine Matt saw what I saw (when I dipped in and out of news items reporting on this ridiculous ceremony), which is that the Brits seem to use any occasion to express what they see as their supremacy over others – be that by conquest or colonisation. Hence, this spectacle was just one more example of their perceived dominance.

Our leader’s partner is human. He has a sense of fun. His remark was made in private and it was made in jest. Importantly, no tabernacles were trampled, no heritage was desecrated. Nay, a joke was merely made, and you know what? If some people in the UK (and Mr Costelloe) can’t cope with it, then that’s their problem. Move on, nothing to see here!

Parents: Do your research regarding popular energy drinks

Call me boring, but I can honestly say I’ve never, on any given weekday, consumed anything more energising than a cup of strong coffee or three. Even as a teenager, and despite alcohol and cigarettes being popular among my group of friends, as the boring nerd in my tribe I never felt the need to touch a cigarette or consume a drop of the hard stuff behind the school bike sheds.

However, today it seems if you’re a teenager, the ultimate social currency you can possess is not your top of the range phone, nor is it your designer kicks, rather it’s that can of over-priced must-have Prime Pandemonium drink clutched in your hand!

The drinks, which, according to reports were selling for €15 a pop (seriously, kids have way too much pocket money these days), have come with a warning following reports that a primary schoolchild in Wales  had a cardiac episode after consuming the popular beverage.

I have no doubt this news will come as a shock to those parents who’ve been buying these energy products for their tweens and teens. I’m no expert, nor have I ever tried (or ever intend to try) one of these caffeine-laden concoctions, but my advice to parents would be to do your research, and if in doubt, consult your family doctor – because your child’s health could be at serious risk.