Cork City Hall to fly rainbow flag at half-mast in tribute to campaigner Dave Roche

The rainbow flag will fly at half-mast above Cork City Hall tomorrow for leading gay rights campaigner Dave Roche, whose funeral cortege is due to pass the building, writes Eoin English.

Mr Roche, a founder member of the Cork LGBT Pride Festival, the CEO of the Cork Gay Project, a board member of the National LGBT helpline, and a driving force behind the Yes Equality Cork campaign and LGBT Awareness Week, died from a suspected heart attack at his home near Macroom in Co Cork, on Saturday. He was in his 50s.

Cork City Council, which in 2014 became the first civic or public building in Ireland to fly the rainbow flag, has now offered to fly it at half-mast from City Hall tomorrow as a mark of respect to Mr Roche.

The council's social inclusion unit has also encouraged council staff who worked with, or who knew Mr Roche, to form a guard of honour outside the building as the cortege passes.

LGBT Awareness Weeks have been held in Cork for seven years but the rainbow flag has only been flown from the building for the last four years.

At the time, the council said only national flags and the flag of the city could be raised over the building.

But following extensive research, Mr Roche discovered that if the flag was presented formally to the city, it could be flown from the building.

In 2013, then Lord Mayor Cllr John Buttimer was in San Francisco during LGBT Week and it was arranged, through community connections, that he would be presented with a rainbow flag by the Mayor of San Francisco.

The following year, it was that flag which was raised above City Hall, making it the first civic or public building in Ireland to fly the rainbow flag.

Mr Roche’s funeral cortege is due to travel from Mayfield via City Hall on route to the crematorium in Ringaskiddy at 2pm.

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