Ó Snodaigh calls for equality for gay community as pride festival is launched
Sinn Féin Human Rights Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has once again welcomed Dublin's Gay Pride festival which is being launched today. However, Deputy Ó Snodaigh was critical of the outgoing Government when he said, "Shamefully, another year has passed without provisions being made for equal treatment and the recognition of the rights of gay, lesbian and transsexual people in Ireland."
Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "I want to once again welcome this wonderful event to Dublin. I send best wishes to Ireland's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities for pride day 2007. Sinn Féin activists will be taking part in this year's celebrations.
"Shamefully, another year has passed without provisions being made for equal treatment and the recognition of the rights of gay, lesbian and transsexual people in Ireland. The continuing refusal to recognise same sex partnerships, the refusal to allow them the right to marry or to recognize marriage outside the State, denies gays and lesbians access to a broad section of rights available to heterosexual married couples.
"Same sex couples have no immigration rights, leaving Irish citizens and their non-EU partners living under a cloud of uncertainty. Also, Irish citizens not living in Ireland are finding it difficult to move back because their non-EU partner would currently not be allowed to live and work here.
"Strand 3 of the Good Friday Agreement obliges the Irish Government to ensure at least an equivalent level of protection of human rights in the 26 Counties as in the 6 Counties. By failing to rectify the disparity between the rights of gay, lesbian and transsexual people on each part of the island the Government parties have failed to meet their obligations - even when presented with an opportunity such as the Civil Unions Bill 2006.
"Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for equivalence in equality and human rights protections, including for the definition of the family in the Constitution to be extended to include same-sex couples. We will continue to fight for the full and equal right to marriage and all of its ensuing rights and entitlements, including the right to choose marriage or civil partnership. We also fully support the right of same sex partners to family reunification and full residency rights.
"Whatever the makeup of the new Government, steps must be taken to ensure that these issues are dealt with and no longer put on the long finger until politically expedient to do so. Another year must not pass with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people being treated as second class citizens." ENDS