Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power has expressed deep disappointment at the Government’s decision to vote down a Fianna Fáil bill to end discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual staff in the Seanad today.

According to Senator Power, “I had genuinely expected that we could reach a cross-party consensus on at least moving the bill to committee stage. From the start, I have worked with all parties and made it clear that I would accept amendments and collaborate on agreeing a final wording. I reiterated this commitment to Ministers Shatter and Quinn again today ahead of the debate.”

“Unfortunately the Government chose to reject this proposal and vote down the bill. I know that this will come as a shock to teachers who were informed just last month by Minister Quinn that this issue would be addressed. Now they have to face into another school year with the threat of being judged not on their effectiveness in the classroom but on someone else’s perception of their private lives. Medical staff in religious-run hospitals are living with the same threat” she said.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the teacher unions and Gay Doctors Ireland have all highlighted how the current situation is a source of fear and anxiety for LGBT people and called for immediate action.

“Fine Gael and Labour had an opportunity today to show that they are serious about tackling this issue”, said Senator Power. “Instead, they came up with a litany of excuses to vote the bill down.  Despite today’s setback, Fianna Fáil will continue to put pressure on the Government to tackle this injustice and to deliver real equality for LGBT people.”