Leinster House LGBT+ group to hold first informal meeting today

Seanad leader Jerry Buttimer suggested the group be formed to provide support for LGBT+ members and staff.

The exterior of Leinster House

Following a suggestion from Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer that a group for LGBT+ members and staff in Leinster House should be formed, the gathering will today hold its very first meeting.

Buttimer emailed all Leinster House staff saying, “This being Pride month and with events due to take place, I’m inviting you to an informal meeting for those interested in joining an LGBT+ group here within the Oireachtas.”

Buttimer later commented, “I am grateful to the Ceann Comhairle, the Cathaoirleach, and Peter Finnegan, Clerk of the Dáil, for their continuing support for this fledgling group, but I am anxious to explore ways in which it can be progressed, issues that can be discussed, and ways in which the group can function.”

Oireachtas members will join a coffee morning hosted by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó’Fearghaíl. A formal presentation of a Pride flag will later be given to the Ceann Comhairle which will then be flown over Leinster House.

In a similar attempt to mark Pride, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council have voted to light their civic centre in rainbow colours to mark their Pride celebrations in August. However, while Sinn Féin, Green Party, SDLP, Alliance and UUP councillors voted in favour of the move, the DUP voted overwhelmingly against, with the final tally being 20 – 13, the 13 being the DUP.

Aaron McIntyre, the Alliance Party Councillor who originally brought up the motion, commented, “Diversity is something to be celebrated as it enriches our society. Lighting the civic centre in rainbow colours on Pride Day in August will be the public statement of this inclusive approach to the LGBT community.”

It was also recently announced that a rainbow flag will fly aloft Belfast City Hall for the first time during Pride celebrations in August. This proposal was also by an Alliance Party councillor, Michael Long and was seconded by his party colleague Emmet McDonough-Brown as a show of support for the LGBT+ community.

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