Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has called for greater North – South co-operation and interaction on the issue of equality for the LGBT community. His call came ahead of this year’s Pride celebration.
Deputy Martin commented, “The last year has been momentous for the LGBT community. Here, we celebrated the passing of the marriage equality referendum and LGBT couples across the country have formalised their relationships on the same basis as their heterosexual friends, neighbours and family. But even as we enjoyed progress in this country we were reminded that the struggle for equality elsewhere goes on.
“Just this month we watched with horror as the single worst act of homophobic violence since World War 2 unfolded in Orlando, Florida. It was a stark reminder that respect and tolerance can never be taken for granted and that the effort to entrench equality is a constant process, requiring ongoing vigilance and effort.
“On our own island, the campaign for equality is unfinished while citizens in the North are denied the same marriage rights as those here in the Republic. With a different legal system in place, such equality can be achieved in Northern Ireland through straightforward legislation, but it requires the determination of the political establishment to make it happen.
“A message of equality all across Ireland would be powerful and very positive one. I would call on political representatives from all backgrounds in the North to engage with us here in the Republic and see at first hand the positive effects of treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. Through the Good Friday Agreement implementation committee and other channels, Fianna Fáil will be offering that support and promoting that message.”