'Unfinished Business' In Fight For Equality - Labour

Ahead of this weekends Dublin Pride and LGBT events across Ireland, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, reflected on "unfinished business" to ensure full equality for all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Deputy Howlin said: "Labour has been to the forefront of promoting civil rights in Ireland since the Party's inception, based on the fundamental principles of freedom and equality.

"In the last Government, Labour achieved a number of major breakthroughs for LGBT equality, including marriage equality, passing the Gender Recognition Act, measures to halt homophobic bullying at school, increasing rights at work for LGBT people, and reforming adoption and guardianship law.

"However, there is still unfinished business to ensure full equality for all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In consultation with LGBT organisations, Labour has identified a number of issues that urgently need to be addressed.

"As I said in the Dáil this week, Ireland needs to strengthen its laws on hate crimes, and to require the Gardaí to compile and report accurate statistics on the number of crimes motivated by homophobia or transphobia, which is something that the Police Service of Northern Ireland has been doing for some time.

"Labour wants to see further reform of gender recognition law, following on the recent review of the legislation, and family law in order to ensure full equality for LGBT parents and children born to surrogate parents.

"Labour is calling for greater investment in public health services, including public education programmes around sexual health and measures to halt the alarming rise of HIV infections in Ireland.

"We also need to ensure that measures to stop homophobic bullying in our schools are being successful, and to ensure that all schools provide full and comprehensive inclusion of LGBT issues in their teaching on relationships and sexuality.

"The theme of this year's Dublin Pride 'Rainbow Revolution' is about recognising and reflecting on the major achievements on LGBT rights and equality since the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Labour is proud of our achievements over many decades in this area here in Ireland but we also want to look towards the future to ensure genuine freedom and equality for all of our citizens."

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