Number of complaints of anti-gay behaviour down 80pc
THE number of gay and lesbian people lodging discrimination complaints has fallen over the past eight years.
There have been two high-profile incidents of alleged discrimination in recent weeks but the number of sexual orienation-based complaints has fallen by almost 80pc since 2003.
There were 31 complaints lodged under the Equal Status Act/Employment Equality Act last year. That contrasts with 160 complaints lodged in 2003.
Earlier this month, a same-sex couple had their Department of Social Protection travel pass challenged while another couple were asked to leave a pub after kissing this week.
Iarnrod Eireann has since "sincerely apologised" to UCC tutor Noel Dolan and his partner Juan Carlos Camacho Suarez for the error.
And the anonymous gay couple asked to leave the Old Oak pub in Cork have settled their differences following a private meeting with the owner.
Mr Dolan yesterday said that while things were improving for same-sex couples in Ireland, there remained problems to overcome.
"I think there is a homophobia, an underlying phobia. Basically you are tolerated if you are gay but not necessarily accepted," he said.
"It is like it is okay to be gay on 'Glee' or 'Coronation Street' or 'EastEnders' but it is not okay for someone to be gay in front of you while you are having a pint or whatever.
"In normal things in (Irish) life there is still a huge resistance to any kind of intimacy (in public) between two men."
"The very fact there are gay bars is proof that society isn't fully integrated yet," he added.
The Gay Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) said it believed the amount of discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples was being under-reported for reasons ranging from identification issues to people not having come out to their families.