By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
Dublin’s Pride Parade is due to return to the streets of the capital for the first time since the pandemic began – and is returning greener than before.
Jamie Kenny, operations and outreach manager of Dublin Pride, told the PA news agency that the parade has tried to go “a bit bigger” for its return after the two-year pandemic hiatus, and has tried to be “as sustainable as possible”.
“We’re trying to be carbon neutral,” he said.
With a few exceptions such as emergency vehicles and vehicles for people with disabilities, most floats will be push-pull carts, and organisers have also been “conscious” of limiting waste and single-use plastics.
Only 1 more sleep!!! 🤩
This year, we're teaming up with @NativeEventsIE to bring you a carbon-neutral #DublinPride22 🌈
If you can, please walk/cycle or take public transport to the Parade & Festival. Be mindful of what you bring with you on the day and use the bins in place. pic.twitter.com/IhmM8rUIvl
— Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride (@DublinPride) June 24, 2022
“That’s been a challenge, but it’s been an interesting one, and once you do it one year, sure we can just replicate it the following year,” Mr Kenny said.
Beginning at the GPO on O’Connell Street at noon on Saturday, the Pride parade will march down O’Connell Street, passing Custom House Quay before crossing the River Liffey and ending at Merrion Square, where a full-day festival will be held.
Mr Kenny said that the Pride Parade is “incredibly important for our community”.
He said that in the wake of an “increase in homophobic and transphobic violence, it’s also a time where we can come together”.
“One thing about our community is that we are great at banding together at tough and difficult times, and having Pride allows our community to have that space where we can all be together, very visible, celebrate the achievements we’ve made, make a bit of a ruckus about the things that we still need to see.”
More than 800 young LGBTQ+ people will also take place in the Pride celebrations alongside Belong To and Youth Work Ireland – this represents many young people who may have not experienced Pride or other LGBT+ events before, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Maybe you came out during the pandemic, you didn’t know what services were there, and being able to see all those support organisations marching in the parade, they can engage with that,” Mr Kenny said.
“It’s been an incredibly tough year for everyone. If you are on the streets of Dublin, give people a cheer – they’ve earned it.”
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, who will be taking part in the event, said that the Pride parade “is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the discrimination faced by LGBTI+ people, to promote diversity and inclusion in society and to champion equality for all people”.
She welcomed the participation of more than 1,500 public servants from government departments, An Garda Siochana, the HSE and various arms of the state in the Pride parade under the banner Proud To Work For Ireland, more than doubling the 600 public servants who took part in the 2019 parade.
“I am delighted I will be walking alongside my Department of Justice colleagues, the broader public service, and the Garda.
“All of those marching are proud to work for Ireland every day and I am proud to walk with them,” she said.