27/06/2019

DUP Slammed Over Pride Flag Walkout

DUP Councillors have been slammed for their decision to walk out of a Causeway Coast and Glens meeting when the prospect of flying the Pride flag was raised.

It comes as other councils have voted to fly the rainbow flag on Saturday 03 August, the day of the Belfast Pride parade, as a show of support for the LGBT community, including at Belfast City Hall and from the civic buildings of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

Sinn Fein Councillor Cara McShane said the walkout is evidence of the DUP's failure to embrace equality for all citizens. She commented: "At last night's full meeting of the Council, Sinn Féin proposed that the rainbow flag should fly for one day to mark Pride. 

"It's disappointing that DUP councillors refused to discuss the proposal and then walked out of the meeting. Flying the Pride flag would have been an important act of solidarity and a symbol of moving forward.

"This decision showed little tolerance and was certainly not an example of a modern, progressive inclusive council committed to positive change.

"Sinn Féin will continue to work in solidarity with the LGBT community to create positive change in our society to promote equal rights for everyone."
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Alliance Councillor Chris McCaw also expressed disappointment. The openly LGBT member of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, and one of very few openly gay politicians in Northern Ireland, said: "Flying a rainbow flag for one day from Council headquarters would be a small yet very significant gesture towards the LGBT community in the Borough. Whether people choose to accept it or not, LGBT citizens live, work and love in this area. Earlier this week, my party successfully convinced Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council to fly a rainbow flag at the end of July for Belfast Pride. The world is changing.

"Growing up gay can be a lonely experience. We should do everything we can do to show our LGBT family, friends and neighbours that they are respected and valued in our society. Belfast Pride festival gets bigger every year, showing the depth of public support for LGBT people, and this would have been our council's opportunity to show that support too. 

"I am very sad, and actually quite hurt, that such a large number of my colleagues decided to walk out rather than even discuss the issue. I would ask them to consider what message this sends to their LGBT family members, friends and constituents."



(JG/CM)

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