Burning of Pride flags in Waterford investigated by gardaí

Mayor of Waterford criticises ‘disgusting’ act and intends to replace flags

The mayor of Waterford has criticised the people behind the burning of Pride flags outside the council’s offices in the city.

Flags had been erected in recent days at the local authority’s buildings in the city and Dungarvan to mark Waterford’s “Pride of the Déise” weekend, a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.

However, flags outside the Menapia Building on The Mall were burned overnight and the council made the discovery after being alerted by security for a neighbouring premises.

Mayor of Waterford Cllr Damien Geoghegan, who had originally proposed flying the flags, said it was a “disgusting” act.

“It would be a rare occurrence but it goes to show why festivals like Pride matter in the first place, because there are still people who view the LGBTQI community as legitimate targets of hate,” he said.

He added that he had set about seeking to have fresh Pride flags flown above the council’s offices: “I certainly won’t be deterred as mayor and will be looking to have the flags replaced immediately.”

Gardaí are investigating the matter, and it is understood they will have access to CCTV footage of the incident.

“I don’t know the mindset of the people who would do this,” Mr Geoghegan said. “It’s certainly not representative of Waterford and I really think the vast majority of people would be disgusted by that.”

The Pride of the Déise festival took place primarily online over the weekend with events aimed at adults and teens in the community.