Irish police have responded to lesbian and gay concerns about safety issues and developed a new community safety strategy for the Dublin region.

Launched by Minister of Justice Michael McDowell this morning, at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community centre Outhouse, the strategy will be piloted for a year before being rolled out nationally.

“Lesbian and Gay people face harassment on the streets and in their homes and this is a sign that our concerns are being taken seriously” said Ciarán McKinney, Director of Gay HIV Strategies.

“We held a public meeting last October and the community made some clear demands on the Gardaí and this strategy forms part of their response. GLEN has had very positive contacts with them, and this is a good demonstration of proactive steps by the Gardaí.”

“Gay people have a right to walk the streets and live our lives openly without being attacked or harassed. It’s no longer acceptable for gay people to be perceived as easy targets because traditionally we wouldn’t go to the police. Irish society is changing and policing is starting to reflect that.”

“Gardaí intend developing a manual of best practice for all members of the force to ensure that they have a better understanding of the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Ireland. We will continue to liaise with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Gardaí and community groups nationally.”