Exclusive: 'They were stepping on our chest, they kneed and kicked us'
Young Irish woman knocked unconscious and her partner viciously assaulted in homophobic attack
TWO young women have spoken about a horrific homophobic attack that they were victims of in Limerick's city centre.
Roisin Prendergast (20) and her girlfriend 17-year-old Ciara Murphy were left bleeding and unconscious following the assault on Cruises Street in Limerick last Sunday week.
The young women were walking in the direction of a food outlet at approximately 2am when two men began "firing homophobic slurs at us".
"We had literally left our apartment only minutes before when these two grown men started shouting abuse at us about being lesbians," Tipperary-born Roisin told independent.ie.
"Initially we shouted back as we are used to this kind of abuse but then they walked back towards us and started shoving us roughly."
The young women have described the men as aged in their early to mid twenties and said they were "well-dressed, as if coming back from a night out".
The verbal abuse quickly escalated to physical violence, according to Ms Murphy, originally from Newcastle West.
"Suddenly, the men pushed us to the ground. They were stepping on our chest, they kneed and kicked us," the student told independent.ie.
The men appeared to leave after approximately ten minutes - after taking the girls' hats - but one returned "which was the worst part", according to Ms Prendergast.
"We thought it was over. Then one guy came back, threw Ciara against a shop window and ripped up her hat in front of her," she said.
When the unprovoked vicious attack was finally over, Ms Murphy lay unconscious following a knock to her head with Ms Prendergast beaten and in shock beside her.
Two passers-by came upon the girls some time later and called the emergency services and the gardai, who responded to the scene.
Gardaí have launched an investigation into the incident but CCTV footage on the street of the incident is of too poor quality for identification purposes.
The two women said they are overwhelmed with the support they have received on social media following the attack.
"So far we have no information as to who the two men are. But we have been inundated with messages of support," said Ms Prendergast.