After much debate, councillors have voted to support the development of a new LGBTQ+ centre in Galway city in the next development plan.
Owen Hanley, Social Democrats Councillor, spoke in support of a new LGBTQ+ centre after beloved Teach Solais centre closed in 2019 because of a lack of sufficient funding. Since then, community group Amach set up a room in the Westside Centre to bridge the gap of some of what was lost when Teach Solais closed, but the community needs more, according to Hanley.
He called the development of a standalone resource centre “vital”, adding, “It’s about sending a strong signal to the national government that we take this seriously.”
Concerns were raised at a draft development plan meeting that, by supporting an LGBTQ+ centre, other minority groups seeking similar resources were being overlooked.
Mayor Colette Connolly specifically mentioned that the Indian and Muslim communities, among “many, many” others, had also put in requests for dedicated facilities. Therefore, she was in favour of a multi-purpose community centre, not dedicated to any one community.
Helen Coleman, senior executive planner, was in agreement, saying that they could not favour one community “that would trump all others”.
However, Mike Crowe of Fianna Fáil argued that the development of an LGBTQ+ resource centre would not alienate other minorities.
“I think this proposal is merited,” he said. “It’s needed and required and parents around the county would appreciate it. It’s not that discriminate against other groups.”
Crowe added that the community centre could be used by all “no matter what race or creed you are”.
A motion was put forward to support the development of a resource centre for all community groups, including but not favouring the LGBTQ+ community. This motion failed by seven votes, before Cllr Hanley’s proposal was unanimously passed. This means the council will offer support for an LGBTQ+ centre in Galway city centre in the next development plan.
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