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arrest made Man charged over alleged burning of Pride flags in Waterford

The flags had been erected to mark “Pride of the Déise” - a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community in the county

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Mayor Damien Geoghegan raised the flag on Friday. Photo: Mayor Damien Geoghegan.

Mayor Damien Geoghegan raised the flag on Friday. Photo: Mayor Damien Geoghegan.

Mayor Damien Geoghegan raised the flag on Friday. Photo: Mayor Damien Geoghegan.

A man in his 40s has been arrested in relation to the alleged burning of Pride flags in Waterford city.

Gardaí said the man has been charged and is due to appear at Waterford District Court on July 6 after being detained at Waterford garda station.

Gardaí had been investigating an incident where a number of Pride flags were taken down and set alight outside the Menapia Building on the Mall in Waterford city in the early hours of Monday morning.

The flags had been erected to mark “Pride of the Déise” - a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community in the county over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Today, activists, politicians, and gardaí gathered outside County Council buildings at the Mall for the re-raising of the Pride flags.

“Being able to be visible 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 and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

“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.”

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mayor of Waterford Cllr Damien Geoghegan said that the person who carried out this act is not representative of the wider Waterford Community, which is a “warm, inclusive place”.

“This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated in 2021,” he added.

“Pride is celebrated because members of that community still come under attack on occasion so it's important that we do show solidarity, and we do fly flags at Pride during the month of June, and it's my intention to see those flags back on the Mall.”

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