A local Councillor has called on Laois County Council to recognise the importance of core funding to support the LGBT+ community in the County.
Cllr Thomasina Connell asked the Council to write to Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth of Ireland, Mr Roderic O’Gorman TD, seeking funding supports for services specific to each county in Ireland.
The Fine Gael Cllr was speaking at the monthly meeting of Laois County County Council earlier this week.
The Midlands LGBT+ Project is a support service for LGBT+ people in Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Kildare established three years ago funded by Minister O’Gorman’s Department.
“The project had delivered great work across the Midlands over the past three years and had gone from strength to strength in terms of its interactions with people across the Midlands and in the number of events that had been rolled out,” Cllr Connell said.
“The Midlands LGBT+ Project is the only dedicated adults LGBT+ Support service in the region, and in 2022 had 294 Help and Support Enquiries dealt with.
“In the first ten months of this year, 2023, there have been 365 of those enquiries received and so it is clearly an essential service in our region.
“The project undertakes a significant number of support and social groups in each of the Counties every month.
“The Midlands LGBT+ Project established the first ever Laois Pride event in September 2022 which returned in September 2023 with over 1000 attendees at the week long festival.
“The Midlands LGBT+ Project is currently Ireland’s largest LGBT+ service.
“The project reapplied to the Department from the Supporting LBTI+ Community Organizations Grant to fund itself again this year but unfortunately it was not successful and as a result the project will be no longer and will close its doors.
“The work of the Midlands LGBT+ Project is vital for our community with the many support groups it holds each month and also the support it offers to parents and families of rural LGBT+ young people and training on inclusivity in community groups, schools and rural organizations.
“The decision has been appealed and hopefully the Minister will look at the appeal favorably.
“Today I am asking Laois County Council to recognise the importance of this funding to our community and that a letter be issued to the Minister seeking funding for the specific supports that have been to date delivered by Midlands LGBT+ Project.”