Lord Mayor Cllr. Mick Finn Launches 9th LGBTI Awareness Week

Cork LGBTI+ Awareness Week 'Allies for Inclusion' and was launched in Cork City Hall by Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn on Monday May 13th, as he said “an occasion fixed now in the civic calendar” which saw the rainbow flag raised by Cork City Council for the fifth successive year with allies of the LGBTI Inter-Agency process honoured for their support.

On this the 9th LGBTI+ Awareness Week the Cork LGBTI Inter-Agency group have reflected on the individual and organisational champions who have helped the Inter-Agency process and have helped create a week which demonstrates very visibly that it is the job of the city, its public agencies, communities and civic leaders to challenge homophobia and transphobia.

7  individual champions were honoured by Cork City LGBTI Inter-Agency Group

  • Pat Ledwidge, recently retired Director Cork City Council and Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council, both of whom were honoured as key architects of an LGB specific objective in the City Development Board Strategy – 'Imagine our Future'. This objective led to the creation of the LGBTI Cork City InterAgency Group.
  • Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn was honoured for his commitment to equality and inclusion and as an ally for so many groups and especially to youth, as well as maintaining the strong tradition of  the Lord Mayor’s office support for LGBTI Awareness Week
  • Cllr John Buttimer who brought the Rainbow Flag from San Francisco which enabled it to be flown formally in the City.
  • Dr Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork and, long an advocate for LGBTI equality and inclusion especially within faith communities.
  • Cllr Catherine Clancy had sent apologies due to a family bereavement and sympathies to her and the Lynch family were extended by the Inter-Agency Group. Catherine was honoured in her absence for being the Lord Mayor to first raise the Rainbow Flag in the City and indeed the Republic since May 2014 was the first time a rainbow Flag was raised formally over a civic or public building.
  • Cllr Tony Fitzgerald was honoured for his role in signing the Rainbow Memorandum with our twin city of San Francisco and our application to the international Rainbow Cities Network.

7 Public Service Champions all who have served as members of the LGBTI Inter-Agency Group were honoured – Cork City Council, HSE Community Work Team both of whom re joint funders. Also An Garda Siochana, Cork Education & Training Board, and the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection. More recent allies of the LGBTI Inter-Agency Group honoured included Tusla, Cork County Council, and Cork City Libraries.

The two City LGBT NGOs LINC and Gay Project were honoured for their commitment to the Inter-Agency process as well as Cork City Partnership, Ballyphehane Togher CDP and the Sexual Health Centre.

Finally two organisations who are not part of the LGBTI Inter-Agency Group but have supported LGBTI Awareness Week were honoured: Choral Con Fusion the LGBTS choir in the city, and St Anne’s Inclusive Church.

The role that all of these has played in supporting the LGBTI Inter-Agency process has been so important, and in part why as a city we are now opening our 9th Awareness Week – the only such event anywhere in Ireland which commands the support of the city, its public agencies, communities and increasingly some faith communities to challenge homophobia, transphobia and biophobia.

Events during LGBTI Awareness Week

There are two keynote seminars which address  crucial areas:

On Wed 15th 'Allies for Youth' - an information briefing on the National LGBTI Youth Strategy featuring  a senior  official from  the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on Wed 15th May together with inputs from many important local initiatives.

On Thurs 16th May 'Allies at Work' – What Works in the Workplace? This seminar takes place in the Republic of Work, and features a series of presentations from different workplace initiatives including Dublin City Council LGBT+ Staff Network, UCC LGBT+ Allies Scheme, HSE National LGBT Network, inputs from private sector workplaces and employees and from IBEC, Chamber of Commerce and One Movement.

The programme this year has a broad church appeal and includes the IDAHOT Day Service in St Annes Shandon, the Stonewall exhibition at Cork City Central library, an LGBTI themed tour of the exhibitions and collections in the Crawford Art Gallery as well as a screening of The Favourite at the Triskel and a multi media performance From the Bog to the Moon exploring LGBTI rural lives and the always fun, family-centered rainbow picnic in Bishop Lucey Park.