- 20 Jun 18
In case you missed it, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar marked the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Speaking at the Dail yesterday during a debate on a Labour party motion marking the 25th anniversary of the repeal of the laws, the Taoiseach said: "Today the people I want to pay a special tribute to are the unknown heroes, the thousands of people whose names we do not know, who were criminalised by our forbears,"
Speaking next in the Dáil on the All Party Motion to mark the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland. Credit to @geraldnash for bringing it forward. We remember the voices of the brave few who gave us all hope & who changed things for everyone.
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) June 19, 2018
Leo Varadkar tells the Dáil 'we remember those who paved the way for this change'. pic.twitter.com/R7R8y1gkHA
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 19, 2018
He also said that it would have been "unimaginable" for him to be Taoiseach when he was born, and praised figures like Senator David Norris and others who paved the way for decriminalisation.
"While the state's laws affected gay men in a legal sense, they had a chilling effect on lesbians as well," he said.
Mr Varadkar argued that, while Ireland can't erase its past, it can learn from it: "What we can say is that we have learned as a society from their suffering. Their stories have helped change us for the better; they have made us more tolerant, more understanding and more human."
The apology comes ahead of a Government reception next weekend in Dublin Castle, which will mark the 25th anniversary of decriminalisation.
It is expected that 700 people will attend the anniversary event.