President Michael D. Higgins has offered his support to members of the LGBTQI+ community ahead of another vigil for Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee this weekend.
In a statement released this afternoon, President Higgins expressed his “deepest condolences” to members of the public affected by the deaths of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee.
He said that “terrible” recent events have shed a light on homophobia in Ireland, where “heartbreaking … members of the gay community are being confronted with homophobic comments and slurs that often go unchallenged”.
He added: “We have to do better.”
President Higgins continued, “So many of our thoughts have been with our LGBTQI+ community over the past few days and it is very heartening to see so much solidarity pouring out with them. I know this will have brought comfort to many people at a time of great need, and I would like to offer my deepest support and condolences to all those who have been directly affected by a series of appalling recent events.
“It is important that we take this opportunity to think more deeply about the public space that we are creating as a society and the freedom and security within it. When it comes to behavior, freedom and expressions of affection, is it an equal space for members of the LGBTQI+ community?
“Seven years ago next month, we will remember how the public overwhelmingly voted to grant full and equal marriage rights to members of the LGBTQI+ community. This was an important and significant milestone and a clear statement by the people of Ireland that everyone is entitled to equal legal recognition of their relationships, regardless of their sexual orientation.
“Yet seven years later, when it comes to behavior, we still hear far too regularly that members of the gay community are confronted with homophobic comments and slurs, often unchallenged. It is heartbreaking to hear friends or family members tell us that they feel uncomfortable holding their partner’s, husband’s or wife’s hand in public.
“This suggests an environment that somehow allows a person’s sexuality to be tolerated by law, but not allowed to be expressed. We have to do better.
“Perhaps a challenge beyond the recent horrific events is to address the lethargy that prevents members of the LGBTQI+ community in Irish society from fully expressing themselves as citizens.
“As we move forward, there is certainly a need to address the roots of the assumptions that underpin these exclusions and such authoritarian acts in our communities, and to consider what individual and collective actions we can take to create a freer, more diverse and more inclusive space Our communities are built on respect for equality and difference, not only in our laws but also in our words and deeds. In doing so, we will all benefit from the provision of such full participation in our common life by all our citizens.”
Vigils were held in Dublin and Sligo last night to commemorate Aidan Moffitt, 58, and Michael Snee, 41, with hundreds of people attending both events.
Sligo Mayor Arthur Gibbons, speaking at the vigil, 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 make our contribution.”
Sligo Pride leader Caitriona Bonner said there had been a sense of sadness in the city in recent days.
“We would like to thank everyone for the great solidarity, the support from the wider communities across Ireland has been overwhelming and we are incredibly humbled,” she said.
Vigils are also being held across the country today to commemorate two men who were murdered in Sligo.
One will start tonight at 6pm at The Square, Blessington, Co. Wicklow.
Another vigil begins at 7pm in Eyre Square, Galway.
Independent.ie has listed the vigil locations and times below and will update the list as more details become available. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are organizing a vigil.
Wicklow: Saturday 16 April at 6pm in Blessington Square
Galway: Saturday 16 April at 7pm in Eyre Square.
donegal: Saturday April 16, Amazing Grace Panel, Buncrana.
Kildare: Saturday 16 April at 6pm at The Square, Maynooth.
Kerry: Monday 18 April at 6pm in Tralee Square
Limerick: Monday 18 April, 6pm, Arthur’s Quay Park.
Cork: Monday 18 April at 6pm, Bishop Lacey Park.
Wicklow: Monday, April 18, 6 p.m., Arklow Bandstand.
Mayo: Ballina: Wednesday April 20 at 9pm at Tom Ruane Park
https://www.independent.ie/news/we-must-do-better-president-higgins-offers-support-to-gay-community-as-further-vigils-in-memory-of-aidan-moffitt-and-michael-snee-take-place-around-the-country-41558731.html ‘We have to do better’ – President Higgins offers support to the gay community as more vigils are held across the country to commemorate Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee