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Council’s pride at flying of rainbow flag in Kilrush

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A WEST Clare councillor has described the response to the flying of the Pride flag at Kilrush Town Hall last month as “humbling”.
Councillor Ian Lynch told the July local authority meeting of the positive impact of the move, as he called on the council to appoint a diversity and inclusion officer. “June was Pride month and, I put my hand up to this, I was relying on someone else to mark it,” he said. “I got a request to fly the Pride flag and I have to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Steve Lahiffe for making it happen. The response to that was one of the most humbling things I’ve experienced. There were people who woke up and felt better about themselves and about their town because the flag was flown.”
The Independent member tabled a motion to have diversity and inclusion promoted. “We will be able to attract more people to the area if we can show that we’re diverse and inclusive,” he said. “We need someone in each Municipal District to highlight how different communities are celebrated. If we can identify different heroes and celebrate them, that would be very positive.”
Councillor Susan Crawford seconded the motion saying she was very supportive of such a move. “It’s all about celebrating diversity and difference,” she said.
Councillor Donna McGettigan said that as the mother of a young trans person, she welcomed the motion. “I had a daughter and now I have a son and I feel very special about that,” she said. “When my son sees an official building with the Pride flag, he feels very welcome.”
In a written response to the motion, Noeleen Fitzgerald, Director of Finance outlined how the issue of equality is addressed by the authority.
“Clare County Council is committed to the principles of equality of opportunity, fairness and accessibility for all, in the services that it provides to the community and in its role as an employer. In line with our statutory obligations under Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, Clare County Council is committed to embedding and developing a culture of respect for human rights and equality, diversity and inclusion among our staff and for the people to whom we provide services,” the reply said.
“Clare County Council will build on ongoing work and engagement in this area with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission by implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty. We have rolled out some workshops in this area with the overall aim to Eliminate Discrimination, Promote Equality, and Protect Human Rights of Staff and Service Users. We will continue to develop practices that promote the right of everyone to participate in all aspects of life in County Clare. The Council’s Equality Officer is part of the role of the Administration Officer in the Learning and Development Unit of HR and we will co-ordinate this process in Clare County Council.”
Councillor Lynch welcomed his colleagues’ support as well as an official response from the Director of Finance. “I am happy that there is a role in this area and it would be great if we got an email to tell us more about it, so that we can help to develop that role,” he said.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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