File photo
Roderic O'Gorman

Minister for Equality praises people of Waterford for 'incredible solidarity' with LGBTQ+ community

There have been a number of anti-LGBTQ+ incidents in this city so far this Pride Month.

LAST UPDATE | Jun 21st 2021, 4:15 PM

THE MINISTER FOR Equality Roderic O’Gorman has praised the people of Waterford for showing their support and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community following a recent string of anti-LGBTQ+ incidents in the city.

“The people of Waterford have shown incredible solidarity with the LGBTI+ community in Waterford and beyond,” said O’Gorman. “They refuse to let themselves be defined by the actions of a small minority and instead have shown themselves to [be] 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”.

A pair of pride flags on the Mall in the city have been taken down twice since their erection for Pride Month. On the first occasion, they were burned after being taken down.

O’Gorman met today with the local Waterford Pride Committee and the Mayor of Waterford, Damien Geoghegan, to present them with a Pride flag.

Today, Geoghegan welcomed the Minister and said on Twitter that “Waterford is a warm, welcoming and inclusive city.”

Last week, after the second incident where the flags were taken down, the mayor promised more Pride flags would be raised in “various locations throughout the city”.

Geoghegan thanked the minister for travelling to the city and “for showing solidarity with the people of Waterford on this occasion” and said “the symbolism of [the visit] will be important”.

Despite the recent incidents, the mayor said he remains “undeterred and determined to continue to fly the pride flag for the remainder of the month of June”.

In the first three weeks of Pride month, there have been a number of incidents in Waterford city against the LGBTQ+ community.

On the night of 6 June, the original Pride flags flown outside the Menapia building were lowered and then burned. A man in his 40s  has since been arrested in relation to the incident.

The following week, on 12 June, it was reported that the flags were cut from their poles overnight, in what Geoghegan called “a truly despicable act”. Gardaí are dealing with the incident.

Last Wednesday, “Straight Pride” posters were stuck up around the city.

The minister was invited to the city by Green Party TD for Waterford, Marc Ó Cathasaigh.

“I’m delighted to welcome Minister O’Gorman to Waterford in response to some of the shameful actions of a tiny minority,” he said. “It was important that a strong message of support went out from Government, and I commend both the mayor and Waterford Council on their response. Waterford is a welcoming city with a proud history of diversity and inclusion, and we stand with Pride.”

With reporting from Eoghan Dalton. Comments have been closed as this piece references active legal proceedings.