The Green Party today joined with locals for a peaceful protest outside the venue in Kilkenny where controversial evangelical pastor Angus Buchan was speaking this evening. The Greens said that while it was important to uphold values of free assembly and free speech in a democracy, that it was equally important that free assembly included the right for people to voice their opposition to intolerance and prejudice.
Speaking following the event, local Green Party Councillor and Environment Spokesperson, Cllr. Malcolm Noonan said that he was there in solidarity with the LGBTI community, not just in Kilkenny but worldwide, and that he saw no place for Mr Buchan’s views on homosexuality or the degradation of women in society.
He said: “We are so lucky to be living in the first country in the world to endorse same sex marriage by popular vote. Yet in many countries being gay is a crime, punishable by imprisonment and persecution. Angus Buchan is spreading hate and intolerance and we here in Kilkenny wish to send out a strong message that we do not accept his worldview. Our presence here today is a peaceful way of saying to him that he can be cured of his homophobia and we are here to help and support him on that journey.
Cllr Noonan urged the Government to move quickly to introduce hate speech laws in Ireland to strengthen the 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act.
“It could be argued that what Mr Buchan says at an event organised by a local community group is not of public concern. In our view it is a matter of public concern and cuts to the very core of our basic decency as a society. Those of us who uphold those values of decency have a responsibility to ensure that these dangerous and outdated views are challenged at every turn.” concluded Cllr Noonan.
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