Just ahead of Dublin Pride 2023, South Dublin County Council (SDCC) has announced that it will be placing “subtle yet vibrant” rainbow steps throughout its locality to tackle “diversity and inclusion issues”. The new installations are expected in bigger villages like Lucan, Clondalkin and Tallaght, as well as in smaller areas like Firhouse.
The motion for the rainbow steps’ installation was tabled by Emma Murphy, Mayor of South Dublin County Council.
“With everything that is happening on diversity and inclusion issues, I thought this would be great,” Murphy told the Irish Independent.
“It’s not just flying a flag once during the year, this is permanent and shows that south Dublin is very welcoming to anyone who would like to live here, from whatever background or minority group they come from.
“It brings in the socially inclusive and welcoming society we’re trying to advocate for. There’s an LGBTQI perspective, but also inclusivity in terms of people of mixed abilities, those of different backgrounds, migrant communities.
“It’s something subtle, but vibrant. At the same time, it’s quite low maintenance and highlights the inclusive society we’re trying to build in south Dublin,” she added.
According to Cllr Murphy, the motion was met with a majority of positive feedback. Independent councillor Alan Edge also spoke out in support of the rainbow steps.
“It might be small in the grand scheme of all the work the county does, but to provide visibility for people is hugely important,” he said.
“This is particularly so at a time when we’re seeing an increase in hate crimes, hate speech directed at people across all sectors, particularly in respect of our trans friends and family.”
However, not every member of the SDCC was as happy as Cllrs Murphy and Edge. Specifically, Cllr Ronan McMahon spoke out about his thoughts on the terminology of “diversity and inclusion” while discussing the motion with his colleagues.
“A few years ago, I proposed we fly the papal flag on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to the city for a day or two. The same members who flaunt diversity and inclusion were the very ones who adamantly spoke and voted against diversity and inclusion on that time,” Cllr McMahon said, adding that the phraseology was his “only issue” with the motion.
He also suggested that there should be a limit on the budgets and on the number of rainbow steps throughout the county.
Reflecting on the discussion, Cllr Murphy told the Irish Independent, “I did get challenged by one particular member in relation to inclusivity in general and the need for it. All and all, it was a positive discussion and welcomed by the members of SDCC.”
The motion was ultimately passed, with 90% of councillors voting in favour. Cllr Murphy reported that she hopes that the initiative will be rolled out within the next few months.
“We should be expecting them in a few months. I’m working with councillors from each of the local areas to get one in each local electoral area, so we have a presence right throughout the county.
“We’ve large villages like Lucan, Tallaght and Clondalkin, but I’d like to see some of our smaller areas like Firhouse.
“We’re looking for stairwells already in existence. I think they’ll start to creep up this year. It’s a very simple infrastructure so I think it’ll be rolled out very quickly,” she added.
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