Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin have both expressed interest in participating in the Navan Pride parade this year in light of the recent attack on a teen that Gardaí are investigating as a hate crime.
This year, the town will host its first-ever Pride festival, starting on June 26 and ending on July 1, the day of the parade. Organisers described the occasion as “a week-long festival of events celebrating diversity and emphasising solidarity with our LGBTQ+ family, friends and neighbours in Navan town”.
The Pride festival was organised prior to the violent attack that took place last Monday, May 15, when a group of students reportedly assaulted a teenager in a residential neighbourhood in the Navan area, filming the violence and posting the video online. The 14-year-old victim was treated for “serious facial injuries” at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and allegedly suffered a concussion, broken teeth and extensive bruising.
Last Friday, Gardaí arrested five minors in connection with the case. In a statement released after the arrests, authorities specified that “the five juvenile teenagers were later released without charge and a file will be referred in the first instance for consideration for admission to the Juvenile Diversion Programme in accordance with Part 4 of the Children Act, 2001.”
To show solidarity with the teen who was attacked, both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste have said that they are interested in participating in the Navan Pride parade, subject to scheduling commitments. According to a spokesperson for the Taoiseach, “Mr Varadkar would like to attend in Navan if at all possible and is seeing if it’s feasible given other commitments.”
Similarly, a spokesperson for the Tánaiste has confirmed that Martin is “happy to consider” if he were invited to attend the parade.
Around 100 people attended a ‘Rally Against Hate’ in Navan in Co Meath this afternoon in a show of support and solidarity for the 14-year-old boy assaulted earlier this week and to say people “will not tolerate any form of hate crime in the town” @RTENews pic.twitter.com/RUIN1JNpgi
— Fergal O'Brien (@FergalOBrien_) May 20, 2023
Speaking on the Michael Reade Show, Co-Chairman of Navan Pride Patrick Lawlor confirmed that all politicians are welcome to attend their Pride events and also invited the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to attend the launch of Navan Pride on June 12.
In a statement published after news of the attack broke, Navan Pride wrote: “Violent attacks on members of the LGBTQ+ community are still happening, not just across this country but within our own town. This is why Navan Pride is so important and why we need your support.”
On Saturday, May 20, Navan Pride also attended a ‘Rally against Hate’, organised by the local community to show solidarity and support for the teenager who was attacked and to condemn the violence.
“People are horrified and shocked at what has happened. No one should be attacked for being different, for being themselves,” Lawlor said on the occasion of the rally. “Navan won’t accept hate crimes of any kind.”
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