Belfast Telegraph

'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 with PSNI officers ahead of the start of the Pride parade in Dublin. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar poses for a photo with PSNI officers ahead of the start of the Pride parade in Dublin. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
'Panti Bliss' aka Rory O'Neill (right) takes part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People go home after watching the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
The Pride parade passes the Oscar Wilde statue in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A dog takes part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People gather to watch the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People gather to watch the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
The Pride parade passes the GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (front row second right) takes part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Mr. Gay World takes part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Marian Lynch, from Cork, and her granddaughter Emma O'Sullivan, from Kerry, take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
'Panti Bliss' aka Rory O'Neill (left) with bus driver Stephen McEvoy the start of the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Inspector Jaiye Warwick-Saunders of the Metropolitan police takes part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Barbara Doyle, from Coolock, with her macaw's Quinn (left) and Rosie as they take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
'Panti Bliss' aka Rory O'Neill at the start of the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (second right) with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (right) minister for justice Charlie Flanagan (left) and minister for finance Paschal Donohoe ahead of the start of the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

By 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.

"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."

People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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.

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."

People go home after watching the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People go home after watching the Pride parade in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 29, 2019. See PA story IRISH Pride. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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.

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