Newry to host UK and Republic's main Pride parade next year
RAINBOW flags will be flying across Newry next year after the city was selected to host the UK and Republic's main Pride parade.
The border city was chosen following a successful bid backed by groups including Newry Rainbow Community, Pride in Newry and Newry Mourne and Down District Council.
The decision was made at a meeting of the UK Pride Organisers Network at the weekend.
The organisers of more than 150 Pride events across the Republic and UK overwhelmingly backed Newry's bid to host the main 2019 parade on August 31.
Pádraig Mullally from Pride in Newry said it was delighted to have won "against a backdrop of setbacks for the LGBTQI community in the north of Ireland".
"We will work hard to maximise the opportunities this status affords us and continue to fight tirelessly for equality in Northern Ireland," he said.
The city will also host the European Pride Organisers' Association's conference in March, which is to coincide with the UK's official exit from the European Union.
Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon said the win was a "huge achievement".
"It is also a reward for all their hard work and determination in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the north," she said.
SDLP MLA Justin McNulty congratulated everyone who worked on the successful bid.
"Pride and the ethos behind the movement is about equality, respect and tolerance. I can think of no better place than Newry to host these prestigious awards," he said.