Pride flags had been erected in recent days to celebrate the launch of Waterford’s ‘Pride of the Déise’ festival, which was a weekend of online events aimed toward the LGBTQ+ community. However, the Pride flag outside the council offices was burned in the early hours of Monday morning.
The council made the discovery after being alerted by security in a neighbouring premises. The mayor of Waterford, Councillor Damien Geoghegan, originally proposed the flags be raised for the month of June. He has criticised the people behind the burning and has described it as a ‘disgusting’ act.
Cllr Geoghegan is already on the hunt for new Pride flags to be flown above the council’s offices: “I certainly won’t be deterred as mayor and will be looking to have the flags replaced immediately… It is my intention to replace those flags as a show of solidarity to the LGBTQI community.”
Pride of the Déise organisers said in a statement on Twitter that it is ‘very disheartening’ to see the pride flag burned. They also said: “We hope that the LGBTQAI+ Community of Waterford will stand together and will continue to be visible in the face of this hate.”
“This is a clear reminder as to why we celebrate Pride, and shows how important [the] Pride of the Déise community is for Waterford County. This shows the exact reason why we should have Pride in Waterford and a clear reminder why Pride Month is still necessary,” the statement continued.
The organisers finished the Twitter thread with an inspiring promise: “We will continue to raise our rainbow flags and not let this deter us from throwing many more Pride Parades in County Waterford. If anything they will only get bigger and better.”
Pride of the Déise are working with the Gardaí in their ongoing investigation into finding the people responsible. A spokesperson with An Garda Siochána appealed for information from anyone that was on the Mall or Parnell Street area, in Waterford City, between 5am and 6am on Monday morning.
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