'I helped a teenager wipe his pride face paint off' - horrific homophobic abuse on bus following Dublin pride
YOUNG people returning from Pride celebrations in Dublin on Saturday evening were subjected to homophobic abuse on a busy bus service.
The incident occurred on a privately-operated coach service running from Dublin to Drogheda on Saturday evening.
A passenger on the bus told Independent.ie that the coach left on time, however shortly after departure a scuffle broke out at the back of the vehicle involving several men.
"Two lads came to my attention earlier as there was quite a large queue for the bus, they barged passed people quite aggressively to get on. The two of them attacked some other people down near the back of the bus.
"People were shouting at the driver to stop the bus which he then did. He went down the bus to attempt to break up the fight but no effect. He came back up to the bus and called the gardaí and opened the bus doors so that those around the fight could get off if they so wished."
The bus was stopped on Gardiner Street in the north inner city at the time.
Due to the busy nature of Saturday night the driver was told it could be some time before gardai could attend the scene.
"The two aggressive lads involved in the fight then walked up the bus and started shouting homophobic slurs abuse at people clearly coming back from Pride", the witness said.
"They were calling young teenagers f**king f****ts and queers and other really nasty things. Some of the young people on the bus were left in tears. They were directing it at people with flags or their faces painted.
"I helped a guy of about 16 or 17 wipe off the rainbow flags he had painted on his face so they wouldn't target him", she added.
She also called the gardai about ten minutes after the driver's original call but was told it would be another while before officers would be available to attend the incident.
"Eventually some other passengers on the bus got up and told the two lads to get off. I was worried another fight was going to break out but I think they recognised they were outnumbered and got off the bus.
"They continued to hurl abuse at some of the passengers who had got off the bus to avoid the original fight. It really spoiled a lovely day for people. I hope the kids who saw it aren't put off going to Pride again next year."
After the men left the vehicle the service made the rest of its journey as sheduled.
She praised the bus driver for acting swiftly and attempting to defuse the situation.
"He's not a security man, he shouldn't be expected to deal with that but he did the best he could."
A garda spokesperson told Independent.ie they were unable to comment on the incident as the bus had departed before officers were able to attend the scene.
An estimated 30,000 people, including new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, took to the streets for Saturday's march.