Cork Gay Project highlights 'rising intolerance' ahead of Easter Monday vigil for men killed in Sligo

Gay Project Coordinator Ailsa Spindler said there has been a general increase in intolerance towards members of the LGBTQI+ community nationwide
Cork Gay Project highlights 'rising intolerance' ahead of Easter Monday vigil for men killed in Sligo

Michael Snee, 58 (left), and Aidan Moffitt, 41.

A member of Cork’s Gay Project said that the level of intolerance towards members of the LGBTQI+ community is currently "getting worse".

Speaking to The Echo in the aftermath of the deaths of Michael Snee and Aidan Moffitt in Sligo, Gay Project Coordinator Ailsa Spindler said there has been a general increase in intolerance towards members of the LGBTQI+ community nationwide.

“After the same sex marriage referendum was passed everyone thought everything is fine but I think there has been a general increase in intolerance. It is being pushed by right wing groups,” Ailsa said.

Ailsa said there is a sense of ‘nervousness’ in the LGBTQI+ community in Cork following the events of the past week.

“One of the sad things is these victims were not doing anything wrong. It is great there have been organisations putting out guidance on safe dating. 

"We would always encourage people to have the first meeting in a public place such as a bar or a club. Don’t meet people who don’t put up a recent picture and if they don’t have much information on their profile, these can be bogus accounts.” 

The project coordinator said the new hate crime legislation due to be enacted by this summer needs to have ‘real power’ to act as a deterrent.

“We want the guards to treat homophobic crime seriously,” Ailsa added.

A vigil organised by members from Gay Project, LINC and Cork Pride will be held in memory of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee, in Bishop Lucey Park at 6pm on Monday, April 18.

Ailsa said the vigil will help to raise awareness some of the issues members of the LGBTQI+ community face on a frequent basis.

Ailsa said that members of Gay Project, LINC and Cork Pride have all come together to organise this vigil in a bid to show solidarity.

“We must show solidarity because it is scary for everybody, but particularly for young people. I was talking to some of the people in our youth group yesterday and they were saying is this how the rest of their life is going to be. That is just not on.” 

Pádraig Rice, a former Coordinator of the Gay Project, said the National LGBTQI+ Inclusion Strategy must be fully implemented as a matter of urgency.

“The marriage equality referendum was important, but one moment like that doesn’t wash away decades of homophobia and oppression. It is deeply entrenched in our society. There is not a gay person in this country who has not experienced homophobia at some point in their lives in the form of corrosive words up to violent acts.” 

The rainbow flag flew over Cork City Hall on Thursday as a symbol of solidary with the friends and family of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee. 

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher said: “We have come so far in recent years in building a more inclusive Ireland, where diversity is represented and embraced. We do not stand for hatred and intolerance.” 

 Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns said nobody should be targeted because of their sexual orientation.

“We must have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of homophobia in our society.”

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