Sligo County Council Will Not Invite Mike Pence

Mike pence (left) and Sligo county Council councillor Hubert Keaney (right)

Sligo Councillor Hubert Keaney will not invite Mike Pence to Sligo


Councillor Hubert Keaney, Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) of Sligo’s County Council has responded to the public’s outcry surrounding Roger McCarrick’s expression of interest in inviting Vice-President-elect Mike Pence to visit Tubbercurry, Sligo.

Keaney responded to the controversial issue after receiving a letter from concerned LGBT citizen Hayley Fox-Roberts.

“I have not, and do not intend to, invite Mike Pence to Sligo,” Keaney told Fox-Roberts in an email.



Fox Roberts was “horrified” to learn that an invitation might be extended to Pence whose support for conversion therapy, a form of reparative therapy that is considered antithetical to the well-being of LGBT people by the American Psychological Association (APA).

In the letter which Fox-Roberts also posted to Facebook, she outlined the reasoning behind her reaction:

Dear Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Keaney

I am horrified to hear that Sligo County Council and Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce may invite Vice-President Mike Pence to visit this region. After the election of Trump, and Pence, I fear for my LGBT family and friends in the USA. I fear for my LGBT family and friends here too. Hatred has been unleashed and is among us.

As a member of the region’s LGBT community and a founder member of Northwest LGBT Pride, I cannot understand why a man who advocates for LGBT ‘conversion therapy’, forcible therapy to change someone’s identity, and who speaks hatred, homophobia and transphobia every day, would receive any welcome.

For ten years, Northwest LGBT Pride welcomed LGBT people, their families, friends and allies to take part in a parade which enabled us to feel acknowledged, accepted and loved in our own towns. We – along with hundreds of other people and other activists – worked for equality and inclusion for all LGBT people. From 2006 to 2015, your council, Sligo County Council, said you supported us. Our assembly point – at City Hall – reflected our understanding of support and goodwill of the county’s councillors. That support gave a strong message.

Click below to keep reading Fox-Roberts’ letter to Cathaoirleach Hubert Keaney of Sligo County Council.


Your suggestion to invite Pence here gives another, even stronger message: you do not care about LGBT people. You are willing to welcome hatred into our midst and you do not care what the consequences of this will be. I fear for my LGBT family and friends in the USA. I fear for my LGBT family and friends here. Do you fear for your family, Cathaoirleach?

In 2016, the newly-formed Saga Sligo Pride stood again on the steps of City Hall and we rejoiced in our increased visibility and safety on the streets of Sligo.

On those same steps, we mourned the LGBT people killed by homophobic attack in Orlando, USA. Yet you welcome Pence, flaunting his hatred of LGBT people as some people bear a flag. You turn your back on LGBT people by welcoming him here. You show your willingness to endorse hatred of LGBT people. You ignore the people who support, love and know LGBT people.

I cannot, I really cannot, understand why you would do this.

Pence’s family being from Tubbercurry is not good enough reason to support hatred by bringing his hate-mongering here. You care so little for the people of your constituency that you will support Pence’s hatred and intimidation of LGBT people in order to stage a visit that will serve little but to promote hatred, fear, loneliness and disgust in the area.

I know I am not alone in the feelings I express here. There is nationwide shock, alarm and disgust that the proposal is even aired. Shame on you, Cathaoirleach, for making this proposal.

I ask you two things – firstly, to reconsider this ill-advised, homophobic and dangerous idea and secondly, to respond to this letter.

I will make this letter public on social media after I have emailed it to you. A hard copy will follow to City Hall. My address will not appear on social media, and I ask you to respect that. I have also copied this letter to Roger McCarrick of Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce.

Cathaoirleach, please think of your people, and reconsider your invitation.

Yours in Pride,
Hayley Fox-Roberts



Last week following the US Presidential election results, Roger McCarrick from the Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce said that he would be writing to invite the right-wing politician “to the home of his ancestors” in spite of Pence’s controversial policies surrounding LGBT people.

“Regardless of policies he is still an ex-Tubbercurry man as far as we are concerned,” McCarrick said.

Besides conversion therapy, Pence has also advocated for reduced rights for LGBT people when it comes to marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws.

Pence’s grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, is said to have been from the Doocastle area just outside of Tubbercurry.


(Images: Gage Skidmore (License), Twitter)

© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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