In a recent case that sent shockwaves through Dublin, Alex Bailey, a 30-year-old resident of Claragh, Ramelton, Donegal, pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman, causing her harm. The incident shed light on a troubling trend amidst the backdrop of escalating anti-trans rhetoric in Ireland. Bailey, who also admitted charges of false imprisonment and robbery, was sentenced on Friday.
The assault, which took place in the early morning in Dublin’s Ranelagh area, involved Bailey violently attacking Marie MacGowan. CCTV footage revealed that Bailey had spent more than an hour with MacGowan, intermittently subjecting her to assault for a total of 42 minutes. It was only when three students arrived on the scene that MacGowan finally received assistance.
MacGowan, who later described fearing for her life, suffered a fractured nose and significant blood loss. Her son, Jack, emphasized the severe impact the assault had on her well-being, necessitating round-the-clock specialist care for months following the incident. MacGowan’s life was forever altered, and her quality of life drastically diminished.
Bailey’s defense argued that he had experienced an “induced psychosis” due to substance intoxication, leading him to harbor delusions about MacGowan, perceiving her as a predatory pedophile and a male dressed as a female. While Bailey expressed deep remorse for the pain and suffering he caused, MacGowan rejected his attempt to offer €10,000 as a token of remorse, prompting the decision to donate the money to the hospital where she received treatment.
In a subsequent ruling, the judge sentenced Bailey to three years in prison, with the final six months suspended on specific conditions. These conditions include exhibiting good behavior for two years after release, refraining from drug and alcohol use, and attending an addiction center for one year.
The assault, which unfolded against the backdrop of increasing anti-trans rhetoric in Ireland, raises concerns about the safety and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community. Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has publicly supported educating primary school students about transgender issues in response to opposition from a Catholic group. Additionally, British anti-trans campaigner Posie Parker attempted to exploit the assault of a 14-year-old boy, wrongly attributing it to an anti-trans “backlash.”
The case serves as a stark reminder of the urgency to address hate crimes and combat the spread of anti-trans rhetoric in Ireland. Dublin’s Trans and Intersex Pride, despite the cancellation of Parker’s planned rally, made their voices heard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, standing in opposition to the harmful rhetoric and advocating for a more inclusive society.