A bisexual Irish Olympian was the victim of a brutal assault by a gang of up to 12 young men and women in Dublin on Friday.
Jack Woolley, the first athlete to represent Team Ireland in the Olympic taekwondo event, said he was "sucker-punched" after an evening on the town. According to a report in the Irish Examiner, Woolley, 22, was taken to a hospital where he was received stitches to close a wound on his upper lip, although he said he will require plastic surgery in the future. He later posted graphic pictures to his Instagram account where he explained what happened to him.
After thanking those who had sent him messages expressing concern about his condition, Woolley revealed he had enjoyed dinner with a friend when they decided to get a couple of drinks.
"Heading back along the River Liffey a gang of roughly 8-12 men and women in their 20s began violently attacking people along the boardwalk," he wrote. "Unfortunately I was victim to these random attacks as I was just walking by I was punched in the face by one of these group members. Only one punch and followed by 'my mistake wrong person' then they continued to run off down the road attacking more civilians minding their own business."
Despite his injuries, Woolley was able to "stay conscious" and "phone an ambulance" which took him to James Hospital.
He went on to say he felt "lucky this is all that happened as there were a handful of us hospitalized and two men stabbed."
Local leaders expressed concern and outrage about the lack of policing in what they describe as a high crime area.
Clir Burke told the Sunday World the area was one of many in Dublin "abandoned" by the Irish National Police, the Garda, and that violence and "open drug dealing" were common in some areas, saying the police wouldn’t allow such lawlessness in the nicer, more privileged areas of town.
"This is allowed to happen in working-class city areas but this would be stamped out rapidly in middle-class areas like Ballsbridge or Mount Merrion," Burke said.
A Garda spokesperson appeared to brush aside concern about the crime rates in the area where Woolley was brutally assaulted over the weekend.
"Senior Garda management is satisfied that an adequate policing service continues to be delivered and that current structures in place meet the requirement to deliver an effective and efficient policing service to the community," a senior Garda spokesperson was quoted by the Sunday World. "This situation is continually reviewed."
Woolley was the first Irish athlete to participate in the Olympics in taekwondo where he competed in the 58kg division, but was eliminated in the first round.
Woolley will require further surgery to repair his wounds, but the scars may take longer to heal.
"It’s been a tough couple of months," Woolley admitted, adding, "WHAT A DAY."