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Northern Ireland: Catholic school marches in Pride parade

Nick Duffy September 6, 2014

A Catholic school in Northern Ireland has made history, by marching in a local Pride parade.

Jarlath Burns, the principal of St Paul’s Bessbrook in County Armagh, marched alongside a group of his pupils at Pride in Newry last weekend.

According to the Irish Independent, Burns said: “At St Paul’s, we celebrate diversity. It is a welcoming place where all students can feel comfortable.

“We just wanted to walk to show solidarity with what is a marginalised group in our society, to show them compassion, dignity and respect.”

“Schools should not be places where students are ridiculed or made feel isolated.

“We are proud to be a Catholic school and it because of that we decided to walk as a group and give Christian witness.”

A Pride flag was flown from the school to mark the event, though only pupils in year 13 and 14 were allowed to take part in the parade.

A statement from the school said: “We are proud to be a school that embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity, further demonstrating commitment to our Catholic ethos.”

Burns added: “It may have been controversial but we have to challenge ourselves and the status quo.

“We can’t be bound by tradition. It’s in that context that we decided to march and I’m very proud of what we did.”

(Photos: Facebook/St Paul’s Bessbrook)

More: Catholic, Europe, Gay, LGBT, March, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland, Pride, school

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