Cork City Library staff members clinched a prestigious award at the GALAS LGTBQ+ Awards ceremony.

City Library receive LGBTQ award

Cork City Library staff members clinched a prestigious award at the GALAS LGTBQ+ Awards ceremony which held in The Round Room at the Mansion House in Dublin last weekend.

The GALAS celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals, volunteer organisations and companies working to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ community. Organised by Gay Community News (GCN) and the National LGBT Federation, over 500 people attended the event, which were hosted by Panti Bliss and Lisa Connell.

Award recipients were chosen by LGBTQ+ advocacy organisations based throughout Ireland, and Cork City Library staff members were named “Ally of the Year.”

The staff took to social media to express their gratitude about being honoured with the award. “Cork City Libraries are delighted to have been awarded the LGBTQ+ Ally award at the #GALAS2023.

“We strive to place libraries at the heart of communities, welcoming and supporting everyone in their enjoyment of reading, and in their pursuit of learning, knowledge and culture,” they said.

The win comes in the wake of a challenging year for staff at Cork City Libraries, with the Grand Parade branch in particular facing numerous protests from anti-LGBTQ agitators.

Many of the protests were orchestrated by the group Cork Says No, which is linked to the far-right political party Ireland First. The protestors oppose LGBTQI+ reading material which is available in the library.

Library staff have been targeted multiple times in recent months, and on a number of occasions small groups entered the premises, recorded staff and subjected them to intimidation and verbal abuse. On 29 July, a decision was made to close the library due to fears for the safety of the workers and public.

Another demonstration is set to take place at the Grand Parade, this Saturday 14 October at 2pm. Described as a ‘nationalist rally’, the group say the purpose is to highlight its opposition to migration, climate change policies, and what it describes as LGBTQ ‘ideological agendas’. Approximately 30 people showed up in support of the group at its most recent demonstration in September.

There is also a counter-rally planned, spearheaded by the groups Cork Says No to Racism and Cork Rebels for Peace, who describe themselves as “a collective of like-minded groups and individuals dedicated to making Cork a safe and peaceful city for all”.

The counter-protest will also take place this Saturday at 2pm.

Speaking about their motivation to organise a counter protest, a spokesperson for Cork Rebels for Peace said: “We firmly believe that we are stronger together and that diversity and inclusion build bridges to make our society better.

“It is the rebel spirit which drives us. It is admirable that in Cork, our peaceful community actions and mobilisation have prevented the spread of hate politics.

“It is in the spirit of rebellion that we invite the people of Cork to stand side by side for a peaceful city,” they said.