Following the burning of an LGBTQ+ Pride flag outside the Waterford County Council offices in the early hours of Monday morning, the people of Waterford have come together in support of the city’s LGBTQ+ community by raising rainbow colours at businesses and homes across the city.
The Pride flag was raised again over Waterford City, with activists, campaigners, politicians, and members of the public proclaiming that they stand in support of Waterford’s LGBTQ+ community and that a bigoted minority would not deflect from that.
The Pride flag was originally raised for the launch of Waterford’s ‘Pride of the Déise’ festival, which was a weekend of online events aimed toward the LGBTQ+ community.
The burning of the flag was met with widespread shock. Waterford Mayor, Councillor Damien Geoghegan, had suggested the Pride flag be flown to mark the festival and described the flag’s burning as “a disgusting and outrageous act.”
With a Garda investigation underway into the attack, Waterford officials and activists were blown away by the number of businesses and members of the community who came out in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Waterford following the attack.
WLRFM broadcaster Damien Tiernan set up a Pride flag collection drive, where people with spare flags were able to donate to those who didn’t have one and wanted to raise one in solidarity with the Queer community.
SEND US YOUR PRIDE FLAGS! After the hate crime, we here at the broadcast centre WLR and BEAT (Niall & me in video) are asking if you have any spare such flags around the country to send them to us and residents/businesses can collect them & fly them with pride. pic.twitter.com/uepiH1apvo
— Damien Tiernan (@damienwlr) June 8, 2021
Pride of the Déise have said they are in awe of the amount of support they have received from the local community in Waterford.
Shane O’Sullivan, secretary of Pride of the Déise admitted that he was shocked such an act of hate could occur locally in Waterford. He continued to explain that: “We have to be visible when things like this happen.”
“What happened has really shocked us all and what we endeavour to do in Pride of the Deise is try to build a community and make a safe space in Waterford (for young gay people). [It] was an absolute show of hate towards us and that breeds a situation whereby young people especially might not feel that they are comfortable to come out within themselves and to be visible.”
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