Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne brought a motion to the March meeting of Drogheda’s Municipal District seeking a temporary installation of ‘Pedestrian Rainbow Crossroads’ at the tholsel area to celebrate Drogheda Pride 5th-7th August. They would be adjacent rainbow crossings next to the existing pedestrian crossings at the bottom of Peter Street, Laurence’s Street, Shop Street and West Street.
The written response received by Cllr Byrne was “The Council will not be providing the markings as requested as all crossings are installed using solely the standards set out in the Roads Traffic (Signs) Regulations.”
A fervent LGBTQ ally in Drogheda, Cllr Byrne quoted other Counties that had done this successfully while advocating that the Council reconsider.
She said “I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at every one of the Drogheda Pride festivals since its inception in 2016 having opened four of them. I am not a member of the LGBTQ community but I am an ally, as are many of the elected reps in this room.
“We’ve watched this community flourish not only in numbers but in the services they provide. The purpose of the rainbow crossroads is to promote inclusivity in our town. The reason I proposed the Rainbow Crossroads as opposed to just one Crossing is to make Drogheda that little bit different, let it stand out from the rest.
“This particular junction sees thousands pass through it on a daily basis. It is the main thoroughfare of the town and central to the route of this year’s Pride parade.
“Let’s step of our boxes and have a bit of vision here for a minute and visualise the colour it would add to the town centre, the fanfare it will add to the parade but more importantly the solidarity it will offer to our LGBTQ Community and the message it sends to our townspeople and further afield; that Drogheda is an inclusive town to live, work and play.
“This reluctance to embrace positive ideas that will promote Drogheda and build community spirit is tiresome.
“Drogheda LGBTQ group and Outcomers Drogheda provide phenomenal support and education to their members.
“July 2019 saw the streets of Drogheda flooded with vibrant rainbow colours with hundreds in attendance at our first Pride Parade to be supportive to these groups. This will inevitably continue to grow this year and in years to come. Refusing to even explore ideas like this is turning a back on this community and I want the Council to reconsider and review again.”
Director of Services Paddy Donnelly firmly told the meeting that the Council do support Pride and are always happy to fly the Pride flag every year on civic buildings in support but suggested if Cllr Byrne was not happy it could potentially be referred to the Infrastruce SPC (Strategic Policy Committee) for discussion.
Cllr Byrne has said she will review the matter with the Director who issued the response but was absent from the meeting.
Concluding, Cllr Byrne said “Who’d of thought bringing a bit of colour to the town centre in support of our LGBTQ Community would be such a battle!”