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LGBT campaigners condemn ‘toxic’ Mike Pence’s Ireland visit as a ’cause for concern’

Ella Braidwood September 2, 2019

Mike Pence. (John Moore/Getty Images)

LGBT+ activists and human rights campaigners have condemned US vice president Mike Pence as he arrives on a visit to the Republic of Ireland.

Pence will fly into Shannon Airport today, September 2, where he’ll be greeted by Tánaiste Simon Coveneyon on his first official visit to Ireland as vice-resident.

His three-day trip will include official and private meetings.

But Irish LGBT+ campaigners have been critical of the vice president’s visit, saying that the red carpet should not be rolled out for him.

Mike Pence to meet with openly gay Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Ruairí McKiernan, a founding member of social justice organisation Uplift and a former member of the council of state, said: “Trump is very much in campaign mode at present and I’ve no doubt Pence’s Irish visit will be used for propaganda purposes, just as the recent visit to Doonbeg was. The Irish American vote is huge and these guys know the value of positive coverage.

“That’s why it’s important not to be complicit in supporting this regime in any shape or form.

“Pence’s views on LGBT rights, and his government’s record on the environment, women’s rights, and workers’ rights are dreadful.

“I can see why people want radical change in politics, but supporting these guys in the midst of an ecological crisis is like helping dig our own grave.”

Taoiseach of Ireland Leo Varadkar (Jack Taylor/Getty)

Pence will stay at US president Donal Trump’s golf resort at Doonbeg in west County Clare.

Pence’s views on LGBT rights, and his government’s record on the environment, women’s rights, and workers’ rights are dreadful.

He will fly to Dublin on Tuesday where he will reportedly meet president Michael D Higgins and, later in the day, have lunch with openly gay Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

The vice president has consistently opposed LGBT+ rights and is against both equal marriage and same-sex civil unions.

He has also spoken out against gay people serving in the military and has been accused of endorsing conversion therapy.

In 2007, he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have banned discrimination against gender identity or sexual orientation in the workplace.

Mike Pence brings ‘toxic hate’, says campaigner.

Poet and activist Sarah Clancy, meanwhile, said: “One of Mike Pence’s election campaigns was based around opposing the idea of recognising that LGBTQ+ people like me needed specific protections under the law.

“This is not the same as a crank on the internet being homophobic.

“Mike Pence brings the stature and power of his office as vice president of the United States to a type of unnecessary toxic hate. In doing so he legitimises attacks, abuse and the politics of loathing.”

Last month, Pence was criticised for appearing on stage with various anti-LGBT+ groups.

More: Donald Trump, Ireland, Leo Varadkar, Mike Pence

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