Northern Ireland news

Equal marriage campaigners welcome taoiseach's commitment on LGBT rights

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with bar manager Mark Hassan during a recent visit to Belfat's 'gay quarter'. Picture by Hugh Russell

Marriage equality campaigners have welcomed a pledge by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to work to end discrimination against LGBT people in Northern Ireland.

During an event at Dublin Castle to mark 25 years since of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the Republic, the Fine Gael leader said he was committed to promoting LGBT rights globally, including north of the border.

“In the United Nations and around the world, I as Taoiseach and Ministers will speak up for LGBT civil rights in other countries, countries that still criminalise or discriminate, whether it's central or eastern Europe, whether it's in the Arab world, or whether it's not too far away in Northern Ireland,” he said.

The Love Equality campaign, a coalition of groups aiming to secure same sex marriage in the north, welcomed the taoiseach's remarks.

Spokesman Patrick Corrigan said: "At a time when there has been no devolved government at Stormont for 18 months, and the UK government has turned its back on the LGBT+ community here, it is all the more important to hear the taoiseach speaking out about the continued discrimination faced by people in Northern Ireland.

"Theresa May should take note that a prime minister of our next door neighbour is speaking about the UK in the same breath as parts of the world infamous for discrimination against LGBT+ people."

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