Any Pride event should be a happy one, with a theme of celebration. But sadly, Pride in Newry has seen give of it’s members attacked after the parade.
The five people, who are committee members, were victim to homophobic abuse as they walked down Margaret Street, before they were attacked around 2.30am on Sunday.
According to a Pride in Newry spokesperson, the members were finishing closing after the Pride ball and were wearing rainbow coloured clothing when a group of people began shouting abuse at them.
Rory Rafferty, a spokesman for Pride in Newry, said: “I do not think it’s a reflection of our experience in Newry to date. We have had five years of Pride and it’s been positive with the people of Newry broadly accepting the concept of it.”
“Saturday went extremely well with our biggest event to date, there were between 6,000 and 7,000 out on the streets for the parade. It’s just really annoying that the actions of a couple of individuals can overshadow what was a very positive Pride. It’s really terrible, usually on Monday we are relaxing and celebrating what we achieved, but instead we are sitting around very sad.”
A post on the official Pride in Newry Facebook page reads: “We are shocked and deeply saddened that 5 of our Pride committee members where involved and savagely beaten in a vicious homophobic attack in Newry on Saturday night.”
“Our thanks go to the staff and security of Cobbles Newry for phoning the police and the ambulance and for providing CCTV evidence to the authorities.Our thoughts are with those who where injured and their friends and family. I am sure you will join with us in our outrage and wish those involved a speedy recovery.”
“This type incident thankfully is rare in Newry but serves as a reminder of the divisions and inequality that still exists in our society. Well done to all those who stood up and marched for equality on Saturday! Love will always overcome hate!”
SDLP Armagh Councillor Pete Byrne, who is is set to raise this matter at Newry, Mourne and Down district Council, had this to say: “I’m shocked and disgusted that several members of the Newry Pride Committee were subjected to a savage attack after Saturday’s parade and celebrations.”
“The very essence of Pride is that everyone should be able to hold their head high and be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their sexual orientation. Those who committed this heinous crime will not win. Our community has stood strongly together to face down bigots before and we stand together again now. Our resolve will not be diminished by cowardly thugs.”
“This once again underscores the urgent need for a robust sexual orientation strategy that challenges homophobic behaviour and supports those who suffer as a result. The LGBT community cannot continue to wait on dawdling Executive Ministers while people are being attacked in the street.”
Let’s all hope that the people in question are brought to justice soon.