GLEN founder and former board member Arthur Leahy decries organisation’s recent closure as a ‘drastic’ decision
Arthur Leahy, a former board member and one of the original founders of the recently closed Gay and Lesbian Equality Network of Ireland (GLEN), has publicly denounced the premature closure of the organisation following recent controversy and the independent report of ex-Senator Jillian van Turnout.
In a press release, Leahy referred to the recommendation of GLEN’s closure as “drastic” in light of the “minor Governance issues” which were discovered.
Highlighting “challenges currently facing the LGBTI community” including HIV rates and suicide, Leahy criticised the reasons for closing GLEN as “petty in the extreme”
Consequently, Leahy has called for an alternative plan in which the decision to close GLEN be suspended and a “viable alternative” be considered which will better suit the needs of the LGBT community in Ireland.
Read Leahy’s full press release below.
Statement of Arthur Leahy on decision to close Glen
Calls for a meeting of all key stakeholders to ascertain whether there is a viable alternative plan and to consider what is in the best interests of the wider LGBTI community.
Speaking as a founder and continuous board member up until last October of GLEN I want to express my disagreement and sadness at the closure of an organisation with an enormous record in driving the changes in the LGBTI community over the last thirty years.
I have just read the independent report of ex-Senator Jillian van Turnout on the organisation and fail to agree with her recommended closure. She has outlined a number of minor Governance issues and stresses that there was no question of missing finances as was suggested in earlier coverage. Why such drastic action?
The consultative process of the report was very inadequate, very few key stakeholders were consulted given the implications of the decision. As someone who had been involved from the outset I was not consulted at any stage, this would indicate the limits of the process.
Given the challenges currently facing the LGBTI community with high rates of suicide, HIV infection and mental health Issues, together with an almost total lack of supportive community infrastructure throughout the country the reasons given seem petty in the extreme.
It is particularly sad given the commitment of the many GLEN workers headed by Brian Sheehan who over the years contributed far and above what was required and as a result produced such significant results. At any visits to the offices those levels of courage and dynamism were clearly apparent.
The forced resignation of Kieran Rose was a crucial mistake. Kieran was the driving force in terms of Vision, Energy and Commitment and without his presence the organisation was extremely vulnerable. Due process should have awaited the Independent report before such a damaging decision was taken. It is now proven to be a wrong decision.
I would propose that the decision to close should be suspended and call for meeting of all key stakeholders to ascertain whether there is a viable alternative plan and to consider what is in the best interests of the wider LGBTI community.
GCN Editor Brian Finnegan heralded the closure of GLEN as bad for the LGBT community in Ireland, in light of GLEN’s involvement in the fight for LGBT rights since it was founded in 1988.
© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News Ireland). All rights reserved.