With the recent news that the vital LGBT+ resource centre Teach Solais is facing closure due to a lack of funding, organisers held an emergency public meeting on March 29 to garner community support.
The Galway centre, the only LGBT+ resource centre of its kind in the west of Ireland, discovered they might have to close as soon as November this year if more funding is not sourced. Amach LGBT+ Galway Chair Cameron Keighron and Vice Chair Maria Molloy presented to those assembled an overview of the full range of supports and services the centre offers to the LGBT+ community, alongside ongoing overheads and required operating funds.
Alongside community members and activists, local politicians spoke about possible plans moving forward. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton of Fine Gael committed to setting up a meeting with Simon Harris, Minister for Health, following the disappointing outcome of a recent HSE application for sustainable funding. Sean Kyne, also of Fine Gael, spoke of how in relation to the services offered to the community, the requested funds for running costs were not a huge amount. Local Independent Dail Deputy, Catherine Connolly called for cross party support among TDs to work together to support Teach Solais remaining open.
Galway City Mayor Niall McNellis, Mark Lohan of Sinn Fein and Frank Fahy of Fine Gael, and Galway County Councillors, Niamh Byrne Fine Gael and Gerry Finnerty of Fianna Fáil all spoke of the crucial work Teach Solais undertakes and how it needed to be kept open for the benefit of the community.
In a recent conversation with GCN, Chair Cameron Keighron spoke of the importance of the centre, describing how Teach Solais hosts peer support groups and social events, working as both a drop-in centre and a wellbeing hub, and provides HIV testing once a month, but how apart from all that, it’s also a safe space, a place for LGBT+ people to meet other LGBT+ people “and have an environment where they feel comfortable and respected and a place where they can be themselves.”
At the end of the meeting, Keighron thanked those in attendance, commenting also on the large turnout. He reiterated the dire financial situation, and that without stable ongoing funding the resource centre could not continue.
A GoFundMe page has been launched to raise money for the vital centre.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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