Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has praised the people of Waterford for their support and solidarity for the LGBTI+ community in the wake of recent anti-LGBTI+ incidents in the city.
Minister O’Gorman was speaking as he visited the city to meet with the local Pride Committee and the Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Damien Geoghegan, and present them with a Pride flag.
Speaking following his visit, Minister O’Gorman said, “the people of Waterford have shown incredible solidarity with the LGBTI+ community in Waterford and beyond. They refuse to let themselves be defined by the actions of a small minority and instead have shown themselves to caring and compassionate. I am delighted to be visiting today to present a Pride flag and show that Ireland stands with them and with the LGBTI+ community in Waterford.”
His visit comes after a string of recent anti-LGBTQ+ incidents in the city in the first few weeks of Pride month.
On June 6th, the original Pride flags on the Mall, outside the Menapia building, were lowered and then burned. A man in his forties is due to appear in court next month in connection with that incident.
Six days later, the flags were cut down, having been raised again by Mayor of Waterford Damien Geoghegan.
Then last Wednesday (June 16th), “Straight Pride” posters appeared around the city, causing much condemnation and upset.
In his visit this afternoon, Minister O’Gorman met with LGTBQ+ groups in the city before raising the flag with the activist group Pride of the Déise.
Debbie O’Rourke, Community Youth Worker with ChillOUT LGBTI+ youth project and member of Pride of the Deise said it was a good day, having earlier been given a donation of ten thousand euro from Bank of Ireland.
“On the back of the unexpected and unwelcome removal and destruction of Pride flags in Waterford we are overwhelmed by the generous donation offered to the group from Bank of Ireland.“
“LGBTI+ young people have always been part of Waterford’s vibrant community and they will continue to be supported, celebrated, and protected. We will work together to end homophobia and transphobia. Pride is an essential reminder that the type of thinking that made us hide away in fear of violence will never win.”