Two young women savagely beaten in homophobic attack
Roisin Prendergast (20) and her girlfriend 17-year-old Ciara Murphy were left bleeding and unconscious following an unprovoked attack 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 the couple.
"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 said.
"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 being aged in their early to mid-20s 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, who is originally from Newcastle West.
"Suddenly, the men pushed us to the ground. They were stepping on our chests, they kneed and kicked us," the student said.
The men appeared to leave after approximately ten minutes - after taking the girls' hats - but one returned "which was the worst part" of the assault, 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 on the street following a knock to her head, while Ms Prendergast had been beaten and was in shock beside her.
Two passers-by came upon the young women some time later and immediately alerted the emergency services and the gardai, who responded to the scene.
Gardai have launched an investigation into the incident - but they say that the CCTV footage on the street of the incident is of too poor quality to be used 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.