Calls for rainbow-coloured pedestrian paths in Dublin

Fine Gael members say move may provide LGBT tourism coup for city

Introducing 'rainbow walks' to Dublin streets will make the city a more attractive proposition for gay tourists, according to local Fine Gael members.

The proposal comes from Dale McDermott, a former president of the party’s youth branch, who says the Irish capital is now seen as a “beacon of hope” internationally following May’s same-sex marriage referendum result.

An 18-page document due to be submitted to Dublin City Council in the coming days identifies two locations on Dame Street – the junction with Great George's Street as well as the Parliament Street junction in front of City Hall – and one on Capel Street for the multi-coloured pedestrian crossings.

Mr McDermott says the proposal has been well received in party circles, and has been championed by Ballymun councillor Noel Rock who has volunteered to make the formal submission.

"The LGBT community has been welcomed with open arms by the people of Ireland and I feel that this would further bolster the support for LGBT people across Dublin city and the world," he said.

He continued: “Given the fact that Dublin is now viewed as a prime location for gay people, this will send a further signal that Dublin is welcoming to LGBT people all over the world. This would be good for tourism, good for culture and good for business.”

Councillor Rock added that the rainbow walks would make a “positive and welcome addition to the streetscape” and would serve as a reminder as to how far the city has come.

Dublin would be following the example of San Francisco, Sydney and Tel Aviv if the initiative were to gain the council's backing.

The author also confirmed that a reference to The George bar on George’s Street calling it an “infamous public house” was a mistake, and he meant to suggest that the well-known establishment is synonymous with the area’s LGBT community.

The Capel Street walkway would be placed outside the popular PantiBar nightspot, however, Mr McDermott says he has not yet consulted owner Rory O’Neill about the idea.

He hopes the plan may be implemented in time for 1916 Easter Rising centenary celebrations next year.

Elsewhere, UK-based asset management company LGBT Capital has reported that Ireland stands to benefit from booming LGBT tourism figures after passing the gay marriage vote.

While admitting its study sample is not purely indicative of the Irish market, the firm says LGBT visitors now comprise 13 per cent of the hospitality sector and could be worth €843 million a year.

Industry specialists had speculated that Ireland would become a preferred destination among such holiday-makers given the positive publicity created by the seminal vote.