17 Irish candidates pledge to support LGBTQ+ rights ahead of European elections

With the surge in far-right politics in the lead up to the 2024 European elections, certain candidates have vowed to protect and advance LGBTQ+ rights.

This article is about candidates in the European elections who support LGBTQ+ rights. In the photo, two EU flags and a Pride flag waving.
Image: Via Shutterstock - Alexandros Michailidis

Ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections, 16 Irish candidates have vowed to protect and advance LGBTQ+ rights. They join over a thousand candidates signing the pledge launched for the elections, with voting in Ireland taking place tomorrow, June 7.

According to research published earlier in February, the 2024 European Parliament elections will see a “surge” in support for far-right and populist parties. The shift is due to far-right politics breaking into the mainstream in several European countries in recent years and is set to have ample consequences on major EU policies.

In the lead up to the vote, far-right leaders across Europe have used the scapegoating of LGBTQ+ people as a tool to divide and mobilise their electorates. In this context, ILGA-Europe has launched the ‘Come Out 4 Europe’ campaign, asking candidates in the European elections to pledge their support for LGBTQ+ rights.

The detailed pledge asks candidates, if elected, to propose and advocate for EU policies and laws; actively engage on rule of law, democracy and inequality; and ensure the European Union employs all its powers to hold member states accountable for violations of the human rights of LGBTQ+ people.

A total of 17 candidates in Ireland have signed the pledge, with the list including Maria Walsh (Fine Gael), Niamh Hourigan (Labour Party), Sinéad Gibney (Social Democrats), Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil), Fergal Landy (Labour Party), Luke “Ming” Flanagan (Independent), Grace O’Sullivan (Green Party), Ciaran Cuffe (Green Party), Rory Hearne (Social Democrats), Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Labour Party), Pauline O’Reilly (Green Party), Cian Prendiville (People Before Profit), Brian O’Boyle (People Before Profit), Barry Andrews (Fianna Fáil), Regina Doherty (Fine Gael), Bríd Smith (People Before Profit) and Peter James Nugent (Independent).


In explaining how they will deliver on their pledge, People Before Profit candidate Cian Prendiville stated: “As a member of the LGBTQI+ community myself, I will strongly and vocally oppose all queer-phobic policies and rhetoric and work with campaigning organisations to fight for equality and liberation.”

Social Democrats candidate Sinéad Gibney wrote: “I will proactively advocate for the rights of LGBTI people across Europe. Through the development of law and policy that keeps at its heart the needs of those most affected by these issues, I will promote the rights and equality of LGBTI, and all marginalised groups.”

In comparison with other EU member states, the number of Irish candidates who have signed the pledge is rather small, with countries like France and Germany in the lead with numbers of signatories. Even countries where LGBTQ+ rights have not been high on the agenda in recent years have large numbers of signatories, such as Italy with 138 candidates and Greece with 69.

For more information about the campaign and the candidates who signed, click here.

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