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Tánaiste addresses ILGA-Europe Annual Conference

Human rights, Press Releases, Europe, 2012

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., will address the ILGA-Europe Annual Conference on Sunday, 21 October.  Along with the European Gay Police association bi-annual conference in June, and the 4th European Transgender Council in September, this is the 3rd international LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex) conference to be held in Dublin this year.  These events have further increased the visibility of LGBTI people in Irish society.

Speaking in advance of his address, the Tánaiste said:

“That ILGA Europe should choose our capital city, Dublin, for this conference is a source of pride for us.  This city, and this Republic, have been on their own remarkable journey in relation to the rights of LGBTI persons.  There is a generation of young Irish people, for whom the Ireland of twenty or thirty years ago would be almost unrecognisable.”

“Thousands of young LGBTI persons, who in the past would have felt the need to live elsewhere, have opted to stay in Ireland.  And by doing so, they have enriched the country and made it a more tolerant place.   Many in public life have emerged as role models for young LGBTI people and, in recent years, civil partnership ceremonies have been occasions of great celebration around the country.”

“That journey is still incomplete.   As I have stated elsewhere, the right of same-sex couples to marry is not a gay rights issue, it is a civil rights issue, and one that I support.  The question of same-sex marriage is one that will be considered by our forthcoming Constitutional Convention.  This is an innovation in Irish democracy, where citizens and public representatives will come together to consider what changes might be made to our Constitution, so that it better reflects not just the society we are now, but the society we aspire to”.