SIR – I would like to directly address your columnist Archon and his column last week on the ‘controversy’ over SVP giving a €40,000 donation to a centre for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth.
In what was a thinly-veiled attempt to whip up antagonism towards lesbian and gay people just before an historic referendum takes place in this country proposing a constitutional amendment to permit same sex marriage, Archon did himself no favours.
Up to now, I have been an active fan of this column. Archon usually tells it like it is, unafraid to take on the big bears of our main political parties or criticise local decision-making that takes little heed of local need. But last week’s column was a disservice to that reputation.
Instead, Archon hid behind the words of Catholic newspaper, Alive! and the Bishop of Galway’s condemnation of SVP’s support to Galway’s LGBT community. The name of the group, unmentioned in Archon’s column – because either he did not research his sources or considered that that an LGBT group did not merit an identity – is Amach LGBT. Despite being described in Archon’s column as ‘an outfit that promotes the gay scene in Ireland’ – a deliberately, misleading statement designed to dismiss rather than enlighten, the monies received from SVP for the LGBT drop-in will provide a centre for young people who are scared, alienated, often homeless and confronting bigotry and ignorance daily, much like the overt bigotry often displayed in Alive! and the kind of misinformed and provocative ignorance that Archon displayed in his column last week.
Archon should come out and say what he really thinks instead of hiding behind the Galway Bishop’s cassock and the outrage of another publication known for its hostility towards lesbians and gays. Perhaps, it might even be possible to have a properly-informed, respectful debate about the changes that have already occurred in Irish society, the imminent changes planned for the Constitution and the challenge of cherishing all of our children (LGBT included) equally.