MEMBERS of Limerick’s gay and lesbian community have been invited to meet Garda representatives after concerns were raised over a lack of support from the force.
At a public meeting in the Absolute Hotel debating issues relevant to the lesbian gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community, fears were raised at the safety of people socialising.
Adam Long, who sits on the National Gay and Lesbian Federation said there is often a lack of visible support from the gardai when they are approached in relation to homophobic attacks.
In response, Cllr Maurice Quinlivan, the vice-chairman of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) suggested a delegation be present at their next meeting, where the most senior garda in Limerick, Chief Supt David Sheahan will be present.
Mr Long said: “If we cannot walk around the streets without the fear of being assaulted, it is a big issue. There is a lack of visible support from the gardai. They should be proactively supporting gay people.”
Labour councillor Joe Leddin fears the opening of a new gay bar in William Street might “put a focus on the sick people who, for whatever reason, may want to prey on gay people.”
Mr Long said more training is necessary for the guards. “The PSNI take a zero tolerance approach, and they have regular training on diversity. This equality ethos needs to be put on a firmer footing here.”