Gay Pride and the Gardai… July 11, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Irish Politics.
Here’s an interesting exchange from the Seanad last week…
Senator David Norris: I support the proposal that a bridge over the River Boyne be named for former President, Ms Mary McAleese. Such a gesture would be particularly appropriate given that bridge-building was the theme of her Presidency.
Last Saturday the annual Gay Pride march took place in Dublin. The Irish Times disgraced itself as usual with the three photographs it published of the event. Colourful and entertaining as they were, if the same was done to any other group, the newspaper would be picketed and subjected to severe abuse. It is a disgrace for a national publication to treat such a matter with so little gravity, especially given the very serious political issue that arose in the lead-up to the event. I attended the opening at Dublin Castle and listened to the addresses given by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Garda Commissioner. I spoke at the dinner hosted by the European Gay Police Association, a very important meeting attended by some 300 members of police forces from 26 countries spanning three continents. When members of this group visited Áras an Uachtaráin, an attempt was made by the Garda Commissioner to prevent the gardaí involved from wearing their uniforms. This was only overcome after a second meeting involving the Garda Representative Association and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors. That is very strange.
At the conference we were told that one of the problems was the way in which the grapevine was used by members of the Garda. The Commissioner succeeded in his efforts to prevent Irish officers from wearing their uniforms at the parade on the basis that they would be off duty. However, being off duty is no impediment to the wearing of uniforms by gardaí participating in the homophobic event that is the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York. Likewise, no objections were raised when off-duty gardaí escorting the remains of St. Thérèse of Lisieux wore their uniforms. When it is a gay issue, however, gardaí, alone among the police force representatives of 26 countries, are apparently not allowed to wear their uniform. These gardaí are facing discrimination in their own country.
Will the Leader confirm whether, as I understand it, the Garda Commissioner also attempted to prevent the foreign representatives from wearing their uniforms in the parade? Second, in the light of the grapevine situation, which is highlighted by a brilliant academic paper by two women from DCU, is it the case that a verbal message was sent by the Commissioner’s office to all assistant commissioners advising them not to attend the conference and, moreover, to advise their chief superintendents and superintendents that they would be better employed in their own divisions and districts? It is a fact that no assistant commissioners attended the conference, nor any operational chief superintendents or superintendents. These are very serious questions and I ask that they be answered factually and on the record of this House rather than sub rosa. These serious concerns place the disgraceful exhibition by The Irish Times in context,—–
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: I The Senator should not display a newspaper in the Chamber.
Senator David Norris: —–with that publication refusing once again to take these matters seriously and instead choosing to trivialise them in a reprehensible and insulting manner.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: As the Father of the House and an experienced Senator, Senator Norris is aware that it is inappropriate to display newspapers in the House. I call Senator Noone.
Senator David Norris: I did not mention any name. Did I?
Senator Terry Leyden: There is only one Commissioner.