It was a vigil, but one set under the light and gentle warmth of the evening sun, and in such sad and dark circumstances it could not have felt more appropriate.
Amid the emotion, fear and sadness among the hundreds of people who gathered at the Dáil last night to commemorate Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee, one line in the speeches stood out like a flaming sword of courage: “More people are marches in Pride than any army in the history of mankind.”
In these times of war in Europe, this seemed a point more important than ever, and the crowd, standing in solemn solidarity, cheered and applauded Dublin Pride CEO Jed Dowling as he spoke of the “unabashed courage and unwavering perseverance ‘ spoke to his congregation. and vowed that Pride would be back on the streets this year.
It was a gesture of defiance and bravery in the midst of the saddest of occasions, summed up in the wistful and deeply poignant words of somewhere Over the Rainbow Softly sung by the Gloria LGBTQ+ choir that caused a lump in the throat.
Fiona Fox with husband Denis and their son Conor (13) had traveled from Lucan to express their solidarity. “I want change,” Fiona said.
Mary Barrett, Fran Hayes and Jean Hayes, all from Raheny, said they were very saddened by the deaths of the two men.
“I think maybe gay men are more vulnerable than women,” Mary said.
From 5pm, they gathered under fluttering rainbow flags to express their heartbreak and dismay at the deaths over the past week.
Stephen Jacques of the National LGBT Federation said the community is strong and in solidarity. “It’s always when you find us cornered or angry that we fight. Our passion for justice runs deep. Take a look at our history and what we have achieved together.”
ShoutOut’s Afric Ní Chrídáin called for more education in schools, saying young people “must be allowed to live in the light”.
“We protect each other because there is no other way to survive in this world,” she said.
Previously, Jed Dowling said that Irish Independent of young people who had come out during lockdown and “who have never strolled down O’Connell Street to see tens of thousands of supporters cheering them on”.
He said it is important that Pride returns for these young people.
Hundreds of people also gathered in Sligo for a vigil in solidarity with the families of Mr Snee and Mr Moffitt and the wider LGBTQ+ community.
Pictures of Mr Snee and Mr Moffitt were proudly displayed along with candles and flowers on the doors of Town Hall.
The streets were lined with people paying tribute to the two men who had been violently killed.
Some people wore Pride colors and others wore Sligo Pride t-shirts. A Pride flag was flown at half-mast in front of City Hall.
Wearing a Sligo Pride T-shirt, Sligo Mayor Arthur Gibbons said the people of Sligo live “in harmony”. “It’s overwhelming to see the crowds that are here today to support us,” he said.
“Sligo is normally a very safe place to live. People live in harmony, I know myself that things happen that need to be addressed. It is up to each and every one of us to do our part.”
Mr Gibbons urged people to inquire about their neighbours, who may be living alone.
“A lot of our people live alone, they live isolated in communities. For some reason they lead a lonely life, they’re scared at times like this. Reach out to them and call them and reassure them they have neighbors and friends.”
Sligo Pride leader Catriona Bonner said there had been a sense of sadness in the town in recent days.
“We would like to thank everyone for the solidarity, the support from the wider communities across Ireland has been overwhelming and we are incredibly honored,” she told the large crowd.
“In an ideal world this would not happen, we should not be gathered in this capacity, but unfortunately this is the reality our community often faces.”
One of Mr Moffitt’s neighbors said it was “hard to find the words”. Mitchell Ashton said: “We’re here to show a little bit of solidarity with our community. Obviously what happened was very upsetting.”
“It’s actually quite a pretty sight to see, it’s nice to see a lot of rainbow flags popping up here and there.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/pride-flags-fly-high-as-hundreds-gather-in-sad-tributes-41558110.html Pride flags fly as hundreds gather for sad tributes