Ireland ranks 16th on Rainbow Europe LGBTQ+ rights report

The annual Rainbow Europe Map and Index was published, with Ireland getting a 53% score on its legal and policy situation in regard to LGBTQ+ rights.

Rainbow flags. This article is about Ireland and the Rainbow Europe report.
Image: Via Unsplash - daniel james

ILGA-Europe has published its annual Rainbow Europe Map and Index, with Ireland ranking 16th out of the 49 European countries included in the review. With a score of 53%, Ireland demonstrated that, although much progress has been made in recent years, there is still a long way to go before the rights of Irish LGBTQ+ citizens are fully protected.

ILGA-Europe is an umbrella organisation that comprises over 600 LGBTQ+ organisations from countries in Europe and Central Asia. Their work focuses on three main pillars: advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ people with institutions such as the European Union and the Council of Europe; using strategic litigation to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens; and strengthening the LGBTQ+ movement in Europe and Central Asia by providing training and support to other groups.

Each year, ILGA-Europe publishes the Rainbow Europe annual review, which ranks all 49 European countries on the basis of their legal and policy situation in regard to LGBTQ+ rights. The scale used in the report goes from 0%, which represents gross violations of human rights, to 100%, which is full equality.

In this year’s Rainbow Europe Index, Ireland ranked 16th, with an overall score of 53%. While the score places the country in a fairly good position, there are still some areas in which more comprehensive legislation is needed in order to fully protect LGBTQ+ people’s rights.

ILGA-Europe provided some recommendations for Ireland, which include the introduction of a law to protect people from hate crimes and hate speech motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. Ireland still has no such legislation, although earlier this year the Seanad approved a motion to opt-in to new European collective measures to prohibit hate speech

Other recommendations focused on the banning of conversion therapy on the grounds of both sexual orientation and gender identity in the country. Few countries in Europe have adopted such bans, with some of them being stalled as can be seen in the UK.

ILGA-Europe also recommended the implementation of an LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum in schools, in particular, but not limited to Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE).

Overall, some of the trends reported in the Rainbow Europe annual review were not positive news for queer folks in the region. The report noted that in 2021 there was a sharp rise of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric from politicians and other leaders all across the continent, which fuelled a wave of violence against queer people. Moreover, it was noted that the majority of states failed to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community during the pandemic.

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