A judge today has sentenced a National Party member who attacked an LGBTQIA+ activist to three years in prison with the final year suspended. On 12 September last year Michael Quinn attacked Izzy Kamikaze outside the Dáil with a wooden plank draped in the Irish flag. As a result of the attack Kamikaze suffered a head injury and had to receive treatment in hospital.
After Judge Martin Nolan carried out sentencing at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) Kamikaze took to Twitter, writing “Thank you all for your support”.
“Packs of wannabe hard men”
Reading out a victim impact statement in the court today, Kamikaze went back over the events that lead to Quinn’s assault on her. Despite having experience of protests over the last four decades, she explained that she’d “never seen anything more substantial than a garden bamboo cane used to fly a flag”. But Quinn, she told the court, brought a plank that was partially hidden by the Tricolour. And this was “not something one would usually bring to a protest, unless your intention was to crack skulls”.
She related that after Quinn hit her on the head she lay on the ground, “unable to get up”. And in the first few seconds she lay there “the dozen or so masked men had been augmented by hundreds of people, mostly male and unmasked and all chanting ‘paedo scum off our streets’”.
Kamikaze also drew attention to the various conspiracy theories created by far-right accounts on social media in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Some claimed that she had faked the attack or that she used a “blood pack” attached to her head. Others resorted to homophobic and sexist comments.
Going on, the veteran activist described how she was “very lucky”. Quinn had “failed to ruin my life” she insisted. And the upside of this was:
Meanwhile, at least a little public attention got focused on the existence of packs of wannabe hard men, whose lockdown-defying protests roamed the city every week at that time, looking for heads to crack open.
In closing her statement Kamikaze said she believes that by complete chance, “Quinn hurt himself and his movement far more than he hurt me and I thank him for that”.
The National Party has yet to publicly comment on Quinn’s attack on Kamikaze as well as the following guilty plea and sentencing.
Attack and sentencing
The attack took place on 12 September last year during a far-right, anti-lockdown rally at the Dáil.
Along with a small number of fellow activists, Kamikaze went to the Dáil to observe the rally which attracted roughly 250 protestors. A number of the crowd noticed the presence of the small group who were then quickly surrounded. And it was during this that Quinn, a member of the far-right National Party, attacked Kamikaze. The mob grew larger after far-right talking head Dee Wall alerted the crowd to the presence of the observers.
In footage posted online in the immediate aftermath of the attack the LGBTQIA+ campaigner could be seen bleeding from a head wound. Gardaí escorted the group of observers away from the rally but allowed the protest to continue. The following month though gardaí announced they’d arrested Quinn, with an address Malone Flats, Ardee, Co. Louth, and charged him with assault and use of an offensive weapon. At the time Kamikaze told The Beacon she was “pleased that an arrest has been made”.
Quinn initially appeared in front of a judge in the CCJ on 23 October where he was granted bail. At a second hearing in February it was announced that he was to be sent forward for trial. He then appeared again in court on 21 June this year where he plead guilty to the charges levelled against him, with Judge Melanie Greally adjourning sentencing until today.
It comes as anti-vaccination and far-right extremists have called for the targeting of politicians and other public figures.
The groups and individuals in question have held protests outside the homes of tánaiste Leo Varadkar, NPHET chief Dr. Tony Holohan, and Professor Luke O’Neill. At these gatherings members of the crowd discussed conspiracy theories related to the pandemic. In one case well-known agitator Graham Carey made homophobic remarks about Varadkar as well as implying the Fine Gael leader is a paedophile.
Another regular attendee at these protests is Dara O’Flaherty. In a video he posted to his Facebook account in the last two weeks he announced to his targets “There’s no hiding from us”. During the video he also warns he and his fellow extremists will target the friends and family members of those they believe have committed crimes against the Irish population for supporting the various COVID-19 lockdown measures and vaccinations.
Featured image via Screenshot