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Sunday 18 August 2019

'You only live once - be the person you are' - Leo Varadkar joins police both sides of the border at Dublin Pride

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar poses for a photo ahead of the start of the Pride parade in Dublin
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar poses for a photo ahead of the start of the Pride parade in Dublin
Avril Nitrate aka Aer Lingus Cabin Services manager Craig Fitzgerald striking a pose with suprise guest Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the Aer Lingus float. Picture: Julien Behal
Commissioner Drew Harris leading the Garda at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Maria Walsh MEP at the Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Maria Walsh MEP at the Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Marcelo Silva Brazil with Shane Mc Guire at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
James Kavanagh at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Panti at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Panti at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Alban Simon France at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Ulli Gigl,Germany, Gisele Graciutti ,Brazil with Kristina Mastel, Dublin 2 and Rakhat Imanalieua, Kurdistan at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Petra Jindrova, Patricie Sarova with Tereza Drabova and Veronika Roznorjokova at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade moves through O’Connell St. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris ahead of the start of the Pride parade in Dublin
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien

Aine Kenny and Press Association

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has joined police officers from both sides of the border at Dublin Pride.

"It's a real honour to be here at Pride. It's only the third time I've been, my second time as Taoiseach and the first time joined here with the gardai and the PSNI, also defence forces and the public service too. So a really great turnout and a beautiful day in Dublin city so happy Pride everyone," he said.

"It's really important that we say to anyone who is anybody who is thinking of joining our public service, whether it's the civil service, the defence forces or the gardai that we're an inclusive employer and if you're gay or lesbian, or bisexual, transgender we understand that and you'll be welcome.

"It's also a really important message to young people to kids: you only live once - be the person you are."

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said it was very important that members of the Gardai were participating in the parade in uniform.

"We are here for a number of very good reasons, one to show that we're a diverse organisation, we want to be an inclusive organisation and being here in uniform is a physical manifestation of that," he said.

Commissioner Drew Harris leading the Garda at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Commissioner Drew Harris leading the Garda at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien

"Secondly we're here to protect people from hate crime and we ask people who are subject to, or victims of, hate crime and hate incidents that they report those incidents. And lastly this is about us demonstrating to all of our staff that we're an inclusive organisation and we want diversity within An Garda Siochana."

But Commissioner Harris said he could understand why some members of the LGBT community were not happy with The Gardai's involvement.

"I can understand, they have a right to protest and that's their entitlement, but we are here for the right reasons and we're here with good intent and we want to illustrate that we in 2019 are here to protect all the people of Ireland, including the gay community," he added.

More than 60,000 people attended this year’s Dublin Pride march, organisers said.

It has been 50 years since the Stonewall riots, which was a catalyst for the Pride movement, which was mentioned by Grand Marshall Will St Leger at the beginning of the celebrations in a moment of poignancy to how far campaigners have come.

The first LGBTQ rights demonstration in Ireland took place when eight people protested anti-gay laws outside the Department of Justice in June 1974. Over the course of four decades, it has become one of the biggest national - and international - celebrations.

Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien

Jason Moran, from Dublin, said: "I'm here to celebrate being in the community with my friends, because there's a lot of times where we aren't able to be out and proud.”

"So having this in such a public area means a lot. I think we still have a lot more to do in terms of LGBTQ rights, it's come a very long way.”

"My mom and my family have always been very involved. And having their support... a lot of people my age 30 years ago didn't have that, so it's definitely very different."

Nathan Ryan came to Dublin today because it's been 50 years since the Stonewall riots. "I want to celebrate being proud. This parade is one of the biggest ones in the country. It's so welcoming and supportive."

Senator David Norris, a veteran gay rights campaigner, watched from the seats outside the GPO before joining in the marching after a few minutes. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was a key part of the celebrations, and he was joined by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. 

Some people at the event said that pride was a protest, but the majority said it was a day for celebration and acceptance.

Many people attending the events were there in support of a family member or friend who had came out.

The march ended in Merrion Square where Oscar Wilde lived. Inside Merrion Park,a  Pride Village was erected featuring performances, speeches and a family area with face painting.

Pride celebrations are earmarked for around the country over the coming weeks, including parades in Limerick, Galway, Cork and Belfast.

For all the pictures from the Pride festivities, see our gallery below:

James Kavanagh at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
James Kavanagh at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Panti at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Maria Walsh MEP at the Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Maria Walsh MEP at the Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Marcelo Silva Brazil with Shane Mc Guire at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Panti at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Alban Simon France at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Ulli Gigl,Germany, Gisele Graciutti ,Brazil with Kristina Mastel, Dublin 2 and Rakhat Imanalieua, Kurdistan at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Petra Jindrova, Patricie Sarova with Tereza Drabova and Veronika Roznorjokova at Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade moves through O’Connell St. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Dublin Pride Parade 2019. Picture: Kyran O'Brien

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