Call for taskforce on homophobic crime

A Government taskforce must be set up to tackle violent crimes against gay people following a number of attacks in the capital, it was warned today.

A Government taskforce must be set up to tackle violent crimes against gay people following a number of attacks in the capital, it was warned today.

After members of Dublin’s gay community gathered in the city centre to highlight the problem, Ciaran Cuffe, a Green Party TD, called for action to stop the spate of violence.

“What we now need is a Government initiative that would address the threats that face the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community on our streets,” Mr Cuffe said.

“While such a taskforce might initially address the issue of Garda resources and actions, I believe it should also address the need for greater education and awareness. This violence is blatant homophobia, and must be tackled at all stages of the education cycle.”

The protest was held close to a well-known gay pub, The George, on South Great George’s Street, in the city centre area where some of the assaults took place.

Members from the gay community said at least three people had been hospitalised as a result of attacks recently.

Mr Cuffe welcomed the launch of a massive Garda crime prevention campaign earlier this year to encourage members of the gay community to report any homophobic incidents.

The TD added: “However, in the short term we need better policing around the venues that are the focus for such crime. In the longer term we need concerted action from the Department of Education and Justice. The setting up of a taskforce would concentrate minds, and be a useful step in tackling this issue.”

In June, Deputy Garda Commissioner Peter Fitzgerald launched the ’Be Proud - Be Safe’ campaign, which included posters, leaflets and business cards, giving personal safety advice to members of the community.

The Garda Community Relations Service, which is based in Harcourt Square, has also dealt with cases of gay people who had not told people about their sexuality and were being blackmailed for large sums of money by former partners.

The 16 Garda liaison officers for the gay community are based in Dublin, Galway, Cork, Waterford, Dundalk and Athlone.

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