Uniformed members of An Garda Síochana will take part in the Dublin LGBT+ Pride Parade for the first time this year.
The announcement was made yesterday at the Garda Representative Association’s annual conference in Kerry yesterday by Garda commissioner Drew Harris. Harris was the PSNI’s deputy chief constable in 2017 when the PSNI marched with the Belfast LGBT+ Pride Parade.
“As you are all aware, society is becoming increasingly diverse,” Harris said.
“As the GRA has rightly pointed out, it is essential that An Garda Síochána reflects the diverse society we serve.
“That is why our uniform policy has been amended to allow the wearing of the hijab, or turban, as an item of Garda uniform.
“This year An Garda Síochána will take part in Dublin’s Gay Pride in uniform for the first time.”
The announcement has been met with the majority of people happy about the new addition to the parade, however, a small contingent has questioned the inclusion of uniformed Gardaí.
A poll conducted by LGBTQ+ 20s30s Ladies group found that 72% of respondents supported the inclusion.
— LGBTQ+ 20s30s Ladies* (@LQBT2030Dublin) May 1, 2019
Jed Dowling, Manager of Dublin Pride responded to concerns saying:
“We are delighted that the request by Dublin LGBTQ Pride and LGBT members of An Garda Siochana to be able to proudly walk in full uniform in this year’s Dublin Pride Parade has not only been accepted but extended out to both their allies within the Gardai and the colleagues in the PSNI. We would like to thank Commissioner Harris for his continued support of Pride, both North and South of the border.
“In 2017 members of AGS and the PSNI marched together in Belfast Pride in what was a symbol, not only of how far the LGBT community has come but also how far all communities on our island had come in a fight for tolerance, respect and equality. These past few weeks have taught us that we need symbols like these, not just for ourselves but for all communities in Ireland. We want Dublin Pride’s return to O’Connell Street to be the most inclusive event possible and the one that defines not only who we as a country are, but who we want to be.
“I do understand why some people are angry that the Gardaí would march in uniform at Pride. I know our history, I’ve lived our history. I remember nearly 20 years ago sitting in James’s hospital with my boyfriend trying to decide if we were going to go the Gardaí, and I remember being more afraid walking into Pearse Street Station than I was the night before when I was faced with a gang shouting that they were Nazis who killed fags.
“I do get it, but I also remember meeting Finbarr Murphy, the first LGBT liason Garda, and finding out that the Gardaí were there to help me and that they had a job of work to do to earn the trust and respect of the community. Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of Gardai who are working really hard to serve our community, they know our history too and they know they still have work to do. Allowing LGBT Gardaí march in uniform in Pride is a part of that process. This is not the world it was 50 or 20 years ago. We’ve come a long way and we’ve learned a lot. One of the biggest things we learned is that excluding people doesn’t help anyone.”
The pride festival in Dublin takes place between the June 20 and June 30 with the pride parade set to take place on 29 June. Yesterday, they announced the theme of this year’s festival is ‘Rainbow Rebellion’.
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