Dublin Pride is just around the corner and one of the newest additions to this year’s parade: An Garda Siochana.
Yesterday, a photo posted on their Twitter and Facebook accounts showing two garda squad cars emblazoned in the rainbow colours along with the caption:
“We are really looking forward to participating in Dublin Pride Parade on Saturday 29th June 2019, and we’ve had a bit of a makeover for the occasion!
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) June 10, 2019
The reaction to the post was somewhat positive but there were numerous homophobic comments left on the photo.
An example of one such comment reads: “Ye are well used to wasting taxpayers money, what one of ye sausage jockeys thought that this was a good idea”
The use of hate speech in response to the Gardai demonstrates the result of a lack of hate crime legislation in Ireland, leaving vulnerable communities at risk.
Last year, RTÉ uncovered an as yet unpublished Garda report which, among a number of findings, highlights a failure to define hate crimes or develop procedures for the recording of hate crime.
The fact that people feel so entitled to spread their messages of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in plain sight of the law, really shows how far we still have to go in our efforts to eradicate discrimination.
ILGA’s Rainbow Map 2019, showed that Ireland had dropped two places in this year’s ranking to 17. If prejudice and bigotry in society continually go unpunished, I can envisage a strong regression in LGBT+ rights. To avoid this, robust protection against LGBT+-phobic speech and violence is essential.
On the Gardaí’s photo alone, there are countless comments which are hateful and discriminatory towards the LGBT+ community and at the moment, the Gardaí have no procedures for tackling this.
Although I appreciate the show of support from many organisations, their online posts can actually provide a platform for people to discriminate against LGBT+ people if they do not monitor their responses carefully.
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