LIMERICK’S gay community was this week singing the praises of local gardai as Henry Street station became the first in Ireland to fly the rainbow flag.
The move came during the Limerick Pride Festival which was continuing in the city this week. It culminates in the annual Limerick Pride Parade through the streets of Limerick, beginning at 2pm this Saturday.
Dave Cuddihy, Limerick Pride chairperson, described the decision to fly the flag at Henry Street during the Pride march as “a hugely significant and positive step forward for the Garda Siochana and the Limerick LGBT Community.
“It shows their willingness to work with us, and us with them,” he said.
“It is made all the more special by the fact that Henry Street is the first station in the country to show their support in such a way, hopefully paving the way for many more to do so during next year’s Pride Festivals.”
Mr Cuddihy said he was delighted that Limerick was showing its true colours as being an “open and accepting city”.
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan said flying the rainbow flag over the Limerick divisional garda headquarters on Saturday was clearly a significant show of support from local gardaí.
“It is our intention by doing so that we send a clear message of support to all LGBT people and in particular a message to report any homophobic, violent, threatening and/or abusive behaviour towards them,” he explained.
Chief Supt Sheahan added that he is keenly aware that homophobic acts cannot be addressed if the gardai are not made aware of them and in flying the rainbow flag as part of the Pride Parade 2014 he hopes to encourage any person to report an incident at either their nearest garda station, to their local LGBT liaison officer or to contact the National LGBT liaison officer in Garda Racial Intercultural Diversity Office, Harcourt Square, Dublin.
The Pride Festival started last Sunday and continues until this coming Sunday. Numerous events have already been held – from a dog show to a prayer service; a debate on gay marriage; HIV testing and social events in bars and hotels in the city.
And there is much more to come this weekend.
One of the highlights of the week takes place this Thursday night with the selection of Mr and Mrs Gay Limerick at Crush 87 night club.
On Friday there will be a Coming Out workshop at 7pm in Davis Street to help anyone who is thinking of making the important decision.
Saturday will be one of the highlights of the week with a special pride breakfast at the Old Quarter followed at 1pm with assembly for the Pride Parade.
The assembly is in the Potato Market at 1pm and the event, which will go down O’Connell and Henry streets will bring the city to life with music and colour.
A free Pridefest event will take place from 3pm in the Potato Market, with a host of performers including Laura Trapp, Europe’s No1 Pink Tribute, Grenande and X Factor semi-finalist Misha B.
This will be followed by a BBQ at Strokers, Upper William Street, followed by a big party in Crush 87.
Not surprisingly Sunday will involve some holistic therapies and treatments; a traditional Irish evening at Strokers with a gay twist, followed by an Adele tribute at the same venue.
See Limerick Pride Festival for full details.