Dublin City Council votes to declare city 'LGBTQ+ Freedom Zone’

Dublin City Council follows the European Union in condemning discrimination and formalising its commitment to LGBTQ+ rights.

Two people holding hands on a cobbled city street

Councillors voted to declare the city of Dublin an ‘LGBTQ+ Freedom Zone’ at a Dublin City Council meeting held last night, emphasising the city’s commitment to LGBTQ+ rights. 

“Declaring [Dublin] a LGBTIQ+ Freedom Zone this evening sends out a strong motion of support, inclusion and respect for our LGBTIQ+ community,” the Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland said of the motion. “As a City we must ensure we promote and protect LGBTIQ+ rights and protections to create a safe and equal environment.” Gilliland additionally noted the importance of celebrating and serving as an ally to diversity.

Dermot Lacey, the Councillor who originally proposed the motion, noted the recent incidences of homophobic attacks in Dublin. “This motion is but a step in trying to build on the best values of Irish people and hopefully will enable the continued building of a more inclusive Dublin for all,” Lacey said. 

The motion passed by the Council commits Dublin to ensuring the promotion and protection of LGBTQ+ rights through public policy, as well as “explicitly sanctioning structural discrimination mechanisms,” according to a Council statement.

The statement additionally notes that the motion denounces the ongoing restrictions and abuses of LGBTQ+ rights occurring in Hungary and Poland, especially as actions taken by these two governments violate the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Regarding such actions in Hungary and Poland, the motion notes that “These resolutions discriminate directly and indirectly against LGBTIQ people and have as direct consequence the increase in acts of violence, intolerance and hate speech directed against LGBTIQ persons.” It further condemns “every other form of discrimination against LGBTIQ persons,” and notes that while especially pronounced in Hungary and Poland, this discrimination remains an issue throughout the European Union. 

The motion additionally stipulates that the Council will continue flying the rainbow Pride flag outside of City Hall for one week during Pride month. 

The motion reflects the European Parliament’s declaration from March 2021 that the European Union as a whole is an ‘LGBTIQ Freedom Zone.’ The European Union issued this declaration in response to Poland’s various ‘LGBT-ideology free zones,’ in addition to the government’s closing of a legal loophole which allowed Poles in same-sex relationships to adopt children separately.

In similar language to that later adopted by the Dublin City Council, the European Union’s resolution reads in part, “authorities at all levels of governance across the EU should protect and promote equality and the fundamental rights of all, including LGBTIQ persons.” Much of the Dublin motion mirrors the European Parliament’s resolution, such as the acknowledgement that while an especially prominent issue in Poland and Hungary, discrimination against LGBTQ+ people happens throughout the entire European Union.

The European Union’s resolution passed by a wide margin, with the 492 MEPs in support defeating the 141 who opposed it, and 46 who abstained. The exact numbers of Councillors who voted for or against the motion in Dublin are not yet clear, but the Council’s statement reports that Councillors supported the motion “overwhelmingly.”

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