Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told an audience of around 700 people Minister for Health Simon Harris is working to ensure that the Children and Families Act will be amended before the summer recess.
This will allow same-sex couples to have their names on their children’s birth certificates.
During last night’s reception to mark the 25th anniversary of decriminalisation in Dublin Castle, Taoiseach Varadkar said, “Next week Minister Harris will bring to cabinet legislation amending the Child and Family Relationship Act. With the co-operation with the opposition, I’m sure we’ll have that legislation done by the summer recess.”
Varadkar also announced that “work has begun” to expunge the criminal convictions of those who were prosecuted before homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993 saying “an apology is just an apology, we want to go further and exponge those convictions as well.” Finalised proposals are being worked on by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and will be brought to cabinet by the end of the year.
He also made a commitment as Taoiseach to speak up about LGBT+ civil rights across the world in “countries that still criminalise or discriminate. Whether it’s central eastern Europe, in the Arab world, whether it’s not too far away in Northern Ireland.”
He also announced that the HSE is developing plans and guidelines for an access programme for PrEP in Ireland as part of the sexual health strategy which is intended to be in place next year.
“Ireland has come a long way since the 1980’s”
In what was the most emotional part of the evening, the nephew of Declan Flynn took to the stage to remember his uncle who he said was “a very generous man”.
He spoke about the night Declan was killed by a gang who had been targetting people in Fairview Park for months which was consciously ignored by authorities.
“Our family were devastated by Declan’s death and have never recovered from that loss.”
“Ireland has come a long way since the 1980s and if Declan was alive today he would be living in a much more inclusive society, which strives to respect the diversity of all of its citizens including those in the LGBT+ community.”
“Declan’s tragedy has contributed to a greater understanding and respect for diversity in modern society. we are proud to remember Declan today for the kind and gentle man he was, the person he was, who we loved and I will always miss having him as part of our lives.”
June 24th marks the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in #Ireland. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar @campaignforleo will acknowledge all those who brought about this change at a special event in #DublinCastle #Pride25 ??? pic.twitter.com/MseUstXmR8
— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) June 24, 2018
David Norris gave a powerful speech thanking former President Mary Robinson for her LGBT+ rights work saying “we wouldn’t be here without her”.
David Norris says “It’s wonderful to get an apology from the state, even better if we got one from the church and I do hope that this will happen.”
Katherine Zappone also thanks Mary Robinson for being the first President to invite openly lesbian and gay people to Aras an Uachtarain. She also spoke movingly about what it was like to be a lesbian in 1980’s Ireland:
“Living in Ireland during criminalisation as a lesbian was stressful, it was very difficult. Not only was Ireland a homophobic state and often society, but so too was it a deeply and often violently misogynistic one.”
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