Meeting held to discuss safety of Cork City Library staff following continued harassment

Following months of harassment and protests, Cork City Council has held a meeting to explore protection for library staff.

Protestors in support of Cork Library staff
Image: @CllrMcCarthy87 via Twitter

In a Cork City Council meeting on Monday, the safety of Cork City library staff was discussed following months of harassment from far-right protestors against what they claim to be “pornographic” LGBTQ+ books.

During the meeting, Cork City librarian David O’Brien told the council that library staff safety is “paramount” and solutions are being worked on.

The meeting was called after a protest was held in solidarity with library staff on July 7, where approximately 400 protestors marched in opposition to the anti-LGBTQ+ harassment.

Irish trade union Forsa has already shown support for the staff during the turmoil by turning out to the protest last week.

“We have been working on it,” said O’Brien in the meeting. He noted that several risk assessments have been enacted such as closing doors in March when a protest between right-wing and left-wing marchers carried out in front of the library. 

Some of the harassment that staff have endured included protestors coming into the library to tear apart LGBTQ+ books or being victims of intimidation or verbal abuse. A lot of these incidents have been filmed.

A motion was put forward by councillors John Maher of the Labour Party and Colette Finn of the Green Party asking for the council to reaffirm their support for the LGBTQ+ community and library staff. The motion was unanimously supported.

The motion reads, “We reiterate our city is open to all, inclusive and proud of the work we have achieved, but are mindful of the challenge ahead of creating a safe and welcoming city for all and that this council does not recognise vigilantism and supports the valuable and brave work of An Garda Síochána as the only legitimate police force in this city and in this State.”

Many of the councillors called upon the gardaí to uphold the law and protect the staff. “I want An Garda Síochána to follow through on our laws, that it is not acceptable to be intimidatory and aggressive to people going to work,” said councillor Colette Finn.

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