Man arrested over burning of Pride flags in Waterford city

Suspect charged with criminal damage, due at Waterford District Court on July 6th

L-R: Adam Pidgeon, Enya Eccleston, Tia Weldon, Éadaoin Walsh, Fina Eccleston, Debbie O’Rourke and Mayor of Waterford Damien Geoghegan. Photogaph: Eoghan Dalton

L-R: Adam Pidgeon, Enya Eccleston, Tia Weldon, Éadaoin Walsh, Fina Eccleston, Debbie O’Rourke and Mayor of Waterford Damien Geoghegan. Photogaph: Eoghan Dalton

 

A man in his 40s has been arrested in connection with the burning of Pride flags in Waterford city.

Gardaí­ said the man has been charged with a count of criminal damage and is due to appear at Waterford District Court on July 6th.

A number of Pride flags were taken down and set alight at the Mall in Waterford city in the early hours of last Monday.

The incident came at the end of Waterford’s Pride of the Déise weekend for the LGBTQ+ community.

A number of people including activists, politicians and gardaí gathered on Wednesday for the re-raising of Pride flags outside Waterford City and County Council’s buildings.

“Being able to be visible in the face of hate is a really important thing to do because we get knocked down but we stand back up,” said Debbie O’Rourke, from the Pride of the Déise group.

“We really think of the LGBT people across Waterford who wouldn’t be able to stand here and be proud and we want this to be a really clear message that LGBT people are part of communities in Waterford.”

Inspector Gavin Hegarty, from Waterford Garda station, said it was important for gardaí­ to show their support for the event.

“For us [Pride is] one of our biggest months of the year, coming together as a community to support everybody. It’s important for us to support all members of our community no matter what their background or whatever their views on the world might be.”

Mayor of Waterford Damien Geoghegan said it was crucial that the flags be flown again. “Waterford is a very warm inclusive place, it’s a great place to be, it’s a great place to live.”