LIMERICK Gardai are once again showing their support to the Limerick Pride Festival and everyone in the LGBT community, as they fly the Pride flag over the City’s Garda Headquarters on Henry Street to coincide with this year’s Limerick Gay Pride which took place this afternoon. Last year, Henry Street Garda Station became the first station in Ireland to fly the Pride flag.
Photo: Garda Sinéad Galvin, Killian Fitzgerald, PRO Limerick Pride 2015, Richard Lynch, ILoveLimerick.ie, Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan, Lisa Daly, Chairperson Limerick Pride 2015 and Garda Cara Leahy (Pic: Frances Fitzgerald – ILoveLimerick)
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan of the Henry Street Garda station said: “What we are trying to achieve is to create awareness and to show our support for the LGBT community with flying the flag. We’re trying to get the message out there that everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Luckily there is a lot more tolerance today than in the past. Every parade we’ve looked over so far has been jovial, a bit of fun and resonates with people in the community. We’re only happy to be able to support the LGBT community in Limerick.”
Those organising this year’s festival are thrilled to once again have the support of the Henry Street station, hoping that their accepting behaviour will pave the way for many more Garda stations to in turn show their support with future Pride festivals throughout the country. Richard Lynch of ‘ILoveLimerick’ said “ I felt it was important to fly the flag at the Garda station again this year in the hope of making it an annual show of support and solidarity between the Garda, the LGBT community and the people of Limerick. It’s symbolic of a new equal Ireland, one where love is proud and flying free, like the flag itself.” he said.
Garda Support to LGBT
In addition to offering support, Gardaí have provided a number of community officers to those who are part of the LGBT community. Gardaí are also promoting safety and are encouraging people to report any homophobic or potentially homophobic behaviour and incidents during the parade and afterwards.
Homophobic acts cannot be addressed if the Garda Síochána are not made aware and members of the public are asked to come forward with any such issues. Speaking about this responsibility of the public, David Sheahan said: “We are trying to give people confidence to come forward if members of the community are suffering from abuse, violence or threatening behaviour. We want people in the community to know that we have a listening ear. We are prepared to listen and we are prepared to deal with every issue that may come our way.”
An Garda has been appointed as the LGBT liaison officer and is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.