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City Hall

Thousands turn out for "rainbow vigil" in Dublin to honour those killed in Orlando shooting

A large crowd – some draped in rainbow flags and holding balloons and other items – gathered at about 7pm this evening for the vigil.

Updated 7.45pm / YouTube

THOUSANDS TURNED OUT in Dublin this evening to pay respect and honour those who died in the Orlando shooting late on Saturday night.

Irish gay rights organisations and LGBT support groups arranged a rainbow vigil at Barnardo’s Square beside City Hall on Dublin’s Dame Street.

A large crowd – some draped in rainbow flags and holding balloons and other items – gathered at about 7pm this evening for the vigil.

Omar Mateen killed 50 people and wounded 53 more in the deadliest shooting in recent US history overnight on Saturday.

2be134d0-aefb-4465-8bba-a881b326866b People light candles on a makeshift shrine dedicated to the victims of the Orlando shooting.

The attack began at around 2am local time. The 29-year-old was killed in an exchange of fire with a police assault team around three hours later.

At the event in Dublin today, three people read aloud the names of all those known to have been killed the shooting – while the large crowd kept silent watch.

20160613_185911 Members of Glen, BeLonGTo and TENE read out the names of victims who were killed at the shooting. Cormac Fitzgerald / Cormac Fitzgerald / /

This was followed by a moment of silence – before a choir sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow and the large crowd watched on.

Housing minister Simon Coveney and Children’s minister Katherine Zappone were both present at the vigil – as were numerous councillors and officials.

20160613_185802 Minister Coveney at the vigil this evening. Cormac Fitzgerald / Cormac Fitzgerald / /

Speaking to after the event, one of the organisers Broden Giambrone of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) said that the large turnout showed the level of support and solidarity that was on offer from the gay community in Ireland.

“We think that we’ve come so far with LGBT rights in Ireland and the US and across the globe but then moment like this tell us that we have a long way to go.”

This was a horrific act of violence but I think for us it’s important to come together and show our solidarity from Ireland all the way to Orlando Florida.

Giambrone said that it was “an incredible showing” of support and that the event had “a lot of emotion resonance” for people.

This shows that the LGBT community is about family and it show very much the solidarity on offer in the face of adversity.

The shooting

The gunman in Saturday night’s shooting was a Muslim American of Afghan descent and law enforcement officials are investigating whether he had ties to or was inspired by Islamist extremism, after a source linked to the Islamic State group claimed the attack.

In a joint statement this afternoon, the vigil organisers said that they were all “in shock” after the shooting.

“We are all in shock at the horror unfolding at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando,” the statement read.

Speaking on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Ireland, our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the survivors and friends, families and loved ones of those who died.

13/06/2016. Book of Condolence for Orlando Shootin Jim Dempsey from Dublin as he signs the book of condolence at the Mansion House Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

It continued:

“The gay club, the beating heart of many LGBT+ people’s social lives, is a sanctuary for LGBT people all over the world.

“For generations, many LGBT people fleeing rejection, oppression and abuse have found the gay club or bar to be a refuge where they can feel safe, where they can be themselves without worrying about the repercussion they may experience in the home, in school or in the streets.

“As well as the unspeakably tragic loss of 50 of our family, that very sanctuary came under attack on Sunday morning.

But we are proud. The LGBT+ community is no stranger to violent attacks and we will, as we have had to do before, harness the aftermath, the grieving, the anger, into something positive that has made the next generation’s lives better. It’s understandable to feel a mixture of emotions after an event as violent as this, but let’s not be afraid.

1855ad06-93f5-4795-add6-8a7a8d324408 A man holds a sign at this evening's vigil near Dublin's City Hall.

The statement went on to call for solidarity, and praised an Islamic rights group in the US for its response to the shooting.

“Let us remember that LGBT Muslims are equally as terrified of an indiscriminately homophobic killer as anyone else, but are now likely to face increased racism as a result of this attack.

One of the most powerful acts of solidarity we witnessed in the wake of the attack came from The Council on American-Islamic Relations in the US, an Islamic civil rights group, urging Muslims in the area to donate blood.

Let’s make this tragedy bring our diverse intersectional communities together, not tear it apart.

We know that Irish LGBT people can and do experience verbal and physical attacks because of who they are, or are perceived to be. No right thinking person in Ireland would justify those, and it is now a moment for all of us to commit to ensuring that we wipe out homophobia, transphobia and biphobia from all corners of Ireland.

Note: Anyone feeling distressed in the wake of the attack can call the National LGBT Helpline on or 1890 929 539. You can send details of any other vigils or related events being organised to I’ll include them in any updates of this story. / YouTube

With reporting from Daragh Brophy 

Read: Orlando shooter was investigated by the FBI twice – but still bought guns legally last week >

Read: Heavily-armed man arrested on way to Gay Pride in Los Angeles >

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