Meet Galway's first openly LGBT+ Councillor - Owen Hanley

We get to know the Galway native who, at 23, is also the youngest city councillor.

Close up of Owen Hanley - a smiling young man wearing glasses with streaked blonde hair

Owen Hanley, a member of the Social Democrats, has become the first openly LGBT+ Councillor in Galway.

A progressive activist, Owen has campaigned for gender equality, third level funding, an end to the housing crisis and repeal of the Eighth Amendment. He had a fun getting-to-know-you chat with GCN.

So Owen, who is your LGBT+ hero?

No idea. Maybe The Babadook?

What is your favourite thing about Galway’s LGBT+ community?

Like most things done in Galway, the LGBT+ community here is very relaxed and there’s a great sense of family that has been fostered by community activists and organisations over the years.

Teach Solais right now represents so much of the hard work by community members that has culminated in tangible gains and left a physical imprint on the city. We aren’t just a group that disperses and appears around Pride but one intrinsically linked to the city all year round.

What is your favourite book/author?

George RR Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire remains the pinnacle of medieval fantasy, if he ever finishes it.

If you could go for a coffee with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

Jeff Goldblum.

What is the most prevalent issue for the LGBT+ community in the west of Ireland?

Rural isolation remains an acute issue for the LGBT+ community in the west of Ireland. This is only compounded by a lack of investment in LGBT+ resources throughout Connacht and existing infrastructure being overly centralized in Dublin.

What are some of the issues for Galway’s LGBT+ community you are going to address as a councillor?

The LGBT+ community in Galway already has a strong voice and sense of community. What it needs is those willing to give it the platform it requires. I am very aware as a young, white, gay, cis man I can’t speak for all parts of the community. But what I will commit to is sharing the platform with everyone in order to address and highlight trans healthcare, queer homelessness, ending Direct Provision, and the need for sustainable funding for Teach Solais.

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