Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today challenged society to "make a stand against homophobia and homophobic attitudes in society".
Ms de Brún made her comments on the International Day against Homophobia.
Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:
"International Day against Homophobia presents us with an opportunity to seriously address the worrying rise of homophobia across Ireland. Violent homophobic attacks are on the rise. However this is only the tip of the iceberg, for various reasons many such attacks go unreported. A recent report published in February highlighted an increase in homophobic attacks by 175% over the same period in 2005.
"Whilst today is about highlighting this issue and seeking practical ways to combat discrimination, we must work all year round to change attitudes and mindsets regarding discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered people.
"One of the major challenges we face is getting to grips with the high levels of homophobic bullying in the workplace and in schools.
"There is clearly a huge job of work to be done if we are to successfully challenge many of the negative attitudes which exist to difference and diversity in our society and the ensuing violence directed at those who are perceived as 'different'. In order to achieve this, we need a concerted active campaign to root out, challenge and eliminate discrimination wherever it exists." ENDS