Anti-LGBTQ+ rally forces Cork library to close over "public safety concerns"

According to Gardaí sources, protesters who participated in the anti-LGBTQ+ rally at the Cork library are linked to British far-right groups.

This article is about a far-right rally in front of Cork Library. In the photo, a Pride flag and a banner that reads: Banning and destroying books is what the Nazi did - maybe read history over social media!
Image: Via Twitter - @Harmonica26

Cork City Library closed early on Saturday, July 29, due to a planned rally organised to protest the presence of LGBTQ+ reading material on the shelves. The demonstration has been criticised for the “threatening behaviour” of its participants and raised safety concerns for the library staff.

The anti-LGBTQ+ rally took place outside the library on Grand Parade, Cork, where around 60 to 70 people gathered at 2pm on Saturday, to demand the removal of LGBTQ+ books from the facility. They also mounted a banner that read “There are only two genders: male and female” on the library entrance without permission. A counter-protest “against the right-wing” also took place nearby, with Gardaí closely monitoring both situations.

In a statement published online, Cork City Library explained that the decision to close early before the start of the rally was “taken in the interests of the safety and wellbeing of the public and library staff,” adding, “We regret this temporary disruption to library services.”

The statement also said, “A request was made by Cork City Library staff that the banner be removed. This request was refused and resulted in an escalation of a tense situation. Having liaised with An Garda Síochána it was decided it would be unsafe for library staff to attempt to remove the banner.

“It should be noted that Cork City Libraries does not endorse the placing of banners on our library buildings. We would like to apologise to all library users for today’s disruption to service which was outside of our control,”it further read.


The anti-LGBTQ+ rally is part of a broader effort by far-right protesters to cause disruption in libraries all over Ireland, which has been ongoing for months. Since March, there have been multiple reports of people entering libraries and objecting to the presence of queer books, with staff being subjected to intimidation, harassment and verbal abuse, while protestors also filmed them without their consent.

One of the most recent incidents was recorded in Ballyphehane Library in Cork, where the staff was forced to leave the counter due to harassment from the far-right protesters. On that occasion, other customers confronted the agitators, saying: “The staff at the library have told you repeatedly if you have a problem with books you go to the council and make a complaint there. That’s how you make a complaint, not with the people who are on the front desk who are essentially on minimum wage.

“We know your MO because of the months of harassment and abuse,” the customer continued. They told one of the protesters that they kept ignoring the rules of the library, saying: “Because you’re a fascist you have your own rules and think everyone else should abide them”.


According to recent reports, sources within the Gardaí have said that some of the protesters who participated in Saturday’s anti-LGBTQ+ rally have been linked to far-right groups in Britain. Others travelled to the rally from Dublin and other parts of Ireland, with the actions being organised through far-right social media channels.

Lord Mayor of Cork Kieran McCarthy said he plans to meet with Gardaí this week over the “very unsettling” harassment and abuse that library staff in Cork are facing. He said that these are “clear actions of heightened harassment by a very small minority”.

“I will be meeting with senior gardaí this week calling for a stop to such horrific harassment,” he added, also explaining that after the protest on Saturday, some of the participants had gone to local bookstores demanding that LGBTQ+ be removed from there as well.

Cork Green Party councillor Dan Boyle commented on Saturday’s events by saying that he was horrified at the behaviour of these groups. “The closure today of Cork City Central Library due to the actions of far right fascists is intolerable. This is not the right to protest, it is intimidation with behaviour that is threatening in its intent,” he stated.

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