Staff at Cork library abused over LGBT+ reading material

Staff at Cork library abused over LGBT+ reading material

Cork’s public library network has no plans to remove LGBT+ reading material despite staff at its central library being subjected to intimidation and horrific verbal abuse.

Cork City Council confirmed that it has reported to gardaí a number of recent incidents at the Grand Parade library involving people opposed to the display of the material.

“Libraries are centres of learning at the heart of communities and have no role as censors. There are no plans to remove material from the library,” said a spokesperson.

A number of library staff have been subjected to verbal abuse and “paedophile slurs” by people who have entered the building in recent weeks to object to the display of LGBT+ reading material.

In one incident in recent days, an individual grabbed a copy of Juno Dawson’s book, This Book is Gay, and ripped it up.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, a council spokesperson said staff at its central library have, like staff at a number of libraries across the country, “been subjected to campaigning from groups who object to LGBT+ reading lists which are available to young adults”.

“Cork City Council has been to the fore nationally when it comes to social inclusion and the diversity and inclusion agenda,” the spokesperson said.

“The city’s newly acquired Rainbow City Status, a first among local authorities in Ireland, is one of many initiatives it has led on in terms of LGBT+ community recognition and rights within our city.

“Cork City Libraries fully recognise the right to peaceful protest and has informed An Garda Síochána of recent activity.” 

Message of solidarity

The issue also raised by Labour councillor John Maher at Monday’s city council meeting, who said it was important to send a message of solidarity to library staff.

“We have seen staff being intimidated, videoed against their will, and being called horrible things,” he said.

“It is important that we send out the message that libraries are safe, are centres of learning, are places of inclusion and diversity, and that we reinforce to our staff that we are standing with them.”

Some of those involved in this intimidation have also been visiting pharmacies distributing “covid vaccine fraud” material, said Mr Maher.

He urged those involved to stop their “bullyboy tactics”, put their names on an election poster, and engage in politics.

Cork is Ireland’s only member of the Rainbow Cities Network, a global LGBT+ policy group founded in 2012. Cork City Libraries is represented on an LGBT+ interagency group that steers the city’s involvement in the RCN.

The interagency group helped install two rainb

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