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Dublin: 16 °C Wednesday 17 September, 2014

Forty years later, Gay Switchboard Ireland is still needed

The phoneline, which began as Tel-A-Friend in 1974, offers support and a listening ear to members of the LGBT community.

(LtoR) John Lyons TD, Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte, Director of the Gay Switchboard Tony Cooney and Publicity Coordinator Maria Keogh.
(LtoR) John Lyons TD, Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte, Director of the Gay Switchboard Tony Cooney and Publicity Coordinator Maria Keogh.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

GAY SWITCHBOARD IRELAND is now in its 4oth year of operation and a new website has been launched to mark the anniversary.

The phoneline, which began as Tel-A-Friend in 1974, offers support and a listening ear to members of the LGBT community.

Gay Switchboard Ireland say that LGBT people regularly face stigma and isolation and point to a 2013 study by the Royal College of Surgeons which said that they are more than seven times more likely to have experienced suicidal ideation.

They also say that a recent UK report showed that over 40 per cent of young gay people have considered suicide.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbittee will tomorrow visit the Outhouse LGBT Community Centre on Capel Street in Dublin to launch the new website.

“The fact that Gay Switchboard has existed for 40 years demonstrates a need that clearly remains valid today,” Rabbitte said after meeting staff of the phoneline in Leinster House this afternoon.

The service runs seven days a week and the volunteers who staff it answer about 2,700 calls each year.

Director of Gay Switchboard Tony Cooney said that they have recently expanded their service with a weekly face-to-face drop-in service.

“We will shortly commence a series of personal development courses for gay and bisexual men in partnership with the Gay Health Network,” he added.

Gay Switchboard Ireland is open seven days a week on 01-872 1055 -and provides confidential listening and support service for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community as well as their friends and family.

Read: ‘Legal clarity for surrogate and LGBT parents by year end’ – Shatter >

Read: ‘Gay marriage caused floods’ councillor suspended in Britain >

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