Northern Irish city of Newry to host UK Pride 2019
Organisers of Pride in Newry were told the news in Glasgow at the annual UK Pride Organisers Network (UKPON) conference 2018.
The European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) also announced that they would host their next conference in Newry in March 2019, which will coincide with the weekend that the UK officially leaves the European Union.
The co-chair of Pride in Newry, Pádraig Mullally, said they were delighted with the news.
“We are delighted to have won UK and Ireland Pride 2019 against a backdrop of setbacks for the LGBTQI community in the North of Ireland.
“We will work hard to maximise the opportunity this status affords us and continue to fight tirelessly for equality in Northern Ireland.”
The UK Pride Organisers Network exists to bring Pride organisers together to share knowledge and experience.
Each year, the network selects a different local Pride event to host UK Pride. This year, it was hosted by the Isle of Wight Pride in July.
In the bid document submitted by Pride in Newry, they noted that Newry is a border city in Northern Ireland, which makes them “perfectly placed” to host the event.
“Visitors have been flocking to this vibrant city for many years to enjoy its location, history, shopping, restaurant scene and nightlife.
“Often referred to as ‘Gateway to the North’, Newry lies 3 miles from the Irish border, it sits snugly amidst the natural splendour of the Mourne Mountains and the Ring of Gullion.”
In their application, Pride in Newry said that Northern Ireland is “not a rights-based society” and said they are “deprived of a government willing to implement legislation that is already in force in the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
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“The fact is as plain as it is shocking, even if our government returned tomorrow they would not implement this legislation.”
Same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Northern Ireland, meaning it is the only territory in the UK that does not yet have equal marriage.
Research suggests that nearly two-thirds of people in the country would like to see it introduced, with half of Protestants and three quarters of Catholics in Northern Ireland saying they supported marriage equality.
Meanwhile, just last week, a sign was hung over a motorway in Northern Ireland that read: “No Irish No Gay.”
It was hung over the M1 between Lurgan and Moira and is being investigated by police as a hate crime.