Irish ministers condemn destruction of LGBTQ+ books and intimidation of library staff

Regarding far-right groups invading public libraries and destroying LGBTQ+ books, the Tánaiste said "I think policing has to be a factor now".

Ministers Micheal Martin and Heather Humphreys speak into microphones, they recently condemned people for intimidating Ireland library staff. 
Image: Twitter @HHumphreysFG and @RyanMcAleerbiz

Irish ministers Micheal Martin and Heather Humphreys have condemned the actions of people who are violently confronting library staff and destroying LGBTQ+ books in Ireland, describing this “outrageous” behaviour as a crime.

Speaking in Mallow, Co Cork, in response to reports of far-right anti-trans groups invading public libraries to tear apart books, the Tánaiste Micheal Martin said: “It is the destruction of property. It is a violation of the peace and tranquillity of our libraries which are essential to our community and to our democracy.”

He also referenced previous periods of censorship where books were banned and said: “We have to stop such vigilantism. We had that before. Joyce and Ulysses. The great novels were banned. We put that era way behind us. We have to trust parents. Libraries are an oasis for society and the community. ”

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development, also condemned those who have violently protested LGBTQ+ books both in and outside public libraries. While at the opening of a library in Portlaoise, she said: “I want to condemn completely people who go into libraries to hurl abuse at staff. That’s absolutely wrong, it shouldn’t be happening.”

“We have to recognise somebody’s right to protest, but to do so in a way that’s not intimidating to others, and to go into a library and abuse staff, I totally condemn it. It’s not what people should be doing and I don’t agree with it and they should cease it,” she continued.

When asked if Gardaí have been too lenient in dealing with such protestors, Humphreys said Gardaí “monitor these situations very closely”. Instead, Tánaiste Micheal Martin said: “I think policing has to be a factor now.”


Since March 2023, library staff in several Irish cities have experienced intimidation, attacks, slurs, and videos of them being recorded without their consent. In some cases, the destruction has been live-streamed on social media. In Swords Library, witnesses said that the organising groups were escorted into the library by Gardaí.

On July 13, anti-LGBTQ+ protesters disrupted a Kerry library drag storytime event, aggressively pushed a person out of their way, and shouted that it was “immoral to read filth to children”. These hate-filled far-right groups originated in the United States, where armed protestors regularly confront library staff for hosting children’s drag story reading hours.

Last week, Cork held a solidarity protest in support of Cork City Library workers who have been subjected to months of harassment by far-right protestors. Approximately 500 people gathered in the city and marched in opposition to the anti-LGBTQ+ abuse, demanding increased protections for library staff.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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