Following the recent spate of anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrations and actions targeted at Irish libraries, Dublin City Councillors have passed a motion condemning the attacks and have endorsed their faith in the Library Management.
The text of the motion passed by the Council’s Arts, Culture, Leisure and Recreation Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) reads: “This SPC deplores the actions of groups who have targeted Dublin City Libraries and have sought to put pressure on staff and the library service generally not to stock books which do not meet these groups’ approval.”
The statement comes after a number of personal threats were made to library staff, and a demonstration was held at Swords Library in April.
These types of demonstrations have not been isolated to Dublin. In March, Cork Library staff reported being subjected to intimidation, verbal abuse and slurs and having videos recorded of them without their consent. Members of an anti-LGBTQ+ organisation were also seen destroying a copy of This Book is Gay, written by trans author and advocate Juno Dawson, outside the Grand Parade Library.
Subsequently, reports of similar actions arose across the country, prompting a spokeswoman for the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), which manages public libraries, to confirm to the Irish Times that “it was aware of protests and that some library authorities had had to provide additional support to their staff as a result, including information on how to deal with such incidents and how to protect their wellbeing.”
The anti-LGBTQ+ lobby behind the actions is said to be representatives from the Natural Women’s Council, Irish Education Alliance, Parents Rights Alliance, Lawyers For Justice Ireland and Hold The Line, with certain attendees described by Twitter users as “violent fascists”.
Militant Left joined other activists & Forsa Trade Union at a counter demonstration to far Right anti LGBTQ protesters protesting against LGBTQ books in Swords library.
Shamefully, the Gardaí played the role of facilitating & protecting them & letting them into the library. pic.twitter.com/qOYq7jR5TD
— Militant Left (@Militant_Left) April 6, 2023
The protestors are objecting to six titles in particular, This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson; What’s the T? by Juno Dawson; Yay! You’re Gay! Now What? by Riyadh Khalaf; Sex Ed: An Inclusive Teenage Guide to Sex and Relationships by The School of Sexuality Education; and Trans Teen Survival Guide by Owl and Fox Fisher, all of which are currently classed as ‘Young Adult (YA)’.
Since the Swords demonstration, the Dublin City Libraries’ management has confirmed that no publications have been removed as a result of the protests.
Speaking to Dublin Live about the Council’s motion, Sinn Fein Councillor Micheal Mac Donncha said, “The council has expressed confidence in the Library Management that nothing that they would have on the shelves would be inappropriate.”
He went on, “The council has today reiterated their support for the libraries and the staff and for their policy of inclusion and for the fact that the libraries are very much centres of freedom of information where everybody is welcome and people are able to access the information they want.”
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