Gay rights campaigners hail landmark moment
GAY rights campaigners hailed a "landmark" moment at the National Ploughing Championships as a government minister launched a campaign to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in rural Ireland.
Brian Sheehan, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), said it was "a landmark moment" to have a gay organisation at the event.
"We tend to focus on cities," he said.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney launched an information initiative by Macra na Feirme and GLEN to highlight supports for gay people in rural areas.
He said it was an important first for the ploughing championships.
"This is about equality and modernisation of our thinking across rural Ireland so that people can live the lives they're comfortable with."
He said there was an isolation problem in rural Ireland.
"We have had many tragic cases of people taking their own lives and of people suffering significant mental stress," he said.
"We know that many people leave their rural environments to go to a city in order to be openly lesbian or gay and we don't think they should have to do that."