Homophobic bullying to be debated in Seanad
Tomorrow (Tuesday), Statements on Homophobic Bullying will be heard by Seanad Éireann. (“Statements on …” is another way of saying “parliamentary debate”.)
Senators are allowed to raise issues of concern which they wish to have debated in the house. In this case, Senator David Norris called for a debate of homophobia and bullying on the 6th June this year, and his request was supported the following day by Senator Ivana Bacik.
A couple of weeks earlier a number of organisations had representatives at a Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality Debate discussion titled “Combating Homophobia and Transphobia”.
If that seems like a lot of hassle to get a collection of adults to talk to one another do remember that this is parliament we’re talking about. They like procedures.
It’s also important for the conversation about homophobic bullying to come through all the formal channels. Elected representatives talk about a lot more than what is officially billed as the agenda, but when something is posted for formal debate it’s officially elevated to An Issue.
It also puts the conversation and opinions of individual representatives into the public sphere (and they can’t later deny their position) which is useful for lobbying/winning arguments in the pub.
The Minister with responsibility for the topic is Kathleen Lynch (Labour), who is Minister of State for Disability, Older People, Equality and Mental Health. The statements are scheduled for 3:45 in the afternoon, and you can watch them live here.