Saturday 23 March 2019

'In a perfect world it would be assault' - Ireland AM reporter says random man put her in headlock on night out

Brianna Parkins spoke of her shock. Photo: Frank McGrath
Brianna Parkins spoke of her shock. Photo: Frank McGrath
Brianna Parkins
Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins
Brianna Parkins and Dáithí Ó Sé at the 2016 Rose of Tralee Picture: Frank McGrath
Brianna Parkins. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

A FORMER high profile entrant to the Rose of Tralee has revealed how she was caught in a headlock by a random man while on a night out.

The 2016 Sydney Rose of Tralee Brianna Parkins was out in a pub in Kilkenny last weekend when the incident occurred. 

The 28-year-old claimed the man went on to try kiss her against her will, forcing her to push him away from her and her friend who had been ordering a drink. 

Speaking on the Ryan Tubridy show on RTE Radio One on Wednesday morning, the shocked Australian said “in a perfect world” the incident on Saturday night would have been assault. 

“The plan was to head down to Kilkenny, great to drive through the town, the craic was moderate to high, we were all excited, tanning each other's backs in the AirBnB before heading out,” she told Tubridy. 

“We get to the first bar and within 10 minutes I hadn’t even ordered a drink yet I just get put in this headlock by this massive sort of rugby-built dude. 

“He grabbed me in a headlock in one arm and my friend around with the other arm and just goes in for the shift. It was like being cuddled by an Alsatian, slobbering all over you.” 

“This was maybe 9.30 or 10pm - not too late for being that sloppy.” 

Ms Perkins, who works in Virgin Media, said that this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened to her on a night out in Ireland but what shocked her further was that no one stepped in to help when they saw her forcibly release herself from his grip. 

“In a perfect world it would be assault but I’m 28, I’ve been going out for years, it’s kind of sad that I am almost desensitised to that - you expect that now going on a night out.

“But what I didn’t expect was, I reacted like a normal person would react, grabbed him by the back of the head, reefed him off me and my friend, gave a few solid good shoves for good measure and he kept coming back at us and I just had to keep responding more and more aggressively and everyone in the bar turned to look at me as if I am the person causing the problem but this bloke had a good 30kg on me - physically, we weren't evenly matched.  

“No one helped, his mates didn’t help, they thought it was funny and the bouncer looked at us like they were going to almost consider kicking me out."

She moved on with her group of friends to another bar after they finished their drinks, and while they were approached by men, nothing happened when they refused their company. 

However she added that there was a further incident in another bar later in the night when a man “screamed into her face” when she turned down his advances. 

She said a group of men would not leave her and her friends alone. 

“We don’t even stay half an hour, a big group of guys are dancing around us, dancing on us quite aggressively. They’re trying to cuddle us and put their arms around us and you’re like no thanks – as a girl you try give the polite no, because you’re told not to be bitter or aggressive,” she said. 

“He got up into my face and screamed, ‘You’re on a night out love’ and I’m like, ‘I know I’m dancing with my  friends and having a good time and I don’t want to be bothered by you guys’.” 

“I’ve been in rough, outback pubs in Australia but I’ve never had that level of carry on happen,” she added.

She said that the ordeal had made her consider that these kinds of incidents should be reported to the guards. 

“I’d never think about bringing that to the police because that is so common and it had happened me before but maybe we should be reporting them,” she said. 

She also said she didn’t think it was a “generational” problem but an “entitlement” issue. 

“Bouncers need to step up when they see that happening,” she said.

“It’s not a private moment between two people, it’s one of your patrons being harassed by another patron.” 

After the incident, the Ireland AM reporter had taken to Twitter to express what had happened. 

She said people responded to say they knew how she felt and had experienced similar things on a night out.

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