Ireland’s first LGBTQ pedestrian rainbow crossing to be installed in Derry

Derry City & Strabane District Council has agreed to create Ireland’s first ‘rainbow’ pedestrian crossing in Derry city centre.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:43 am
Brian Tierney, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council pictured at the Rainbow Pathway on the quayside with Sha Gillespie, Jim Doherty, Chair of Foyle Pride, Dee Abbott and Catherine Hemelryk from Foyle Pride close to where the new crossing will be situated. Picture Martin McKeown. 23.10.20

In August 2020, the Council was contacted by the committee of the Foyle Pride Festival asking for support in having a permanent rainbow crossing created in Derry.

A Foyle Pride spokesperson said there are rainbow crossings across the world to show that a city supports the rights of LGBTQ+ people and they also act as a tourist attraction and landmark in their cities.

At December’s Full Council meeting it was agreed that: “Council will continue to work with and support Foyle Pride in their campaign to locate a rainbow crossing in this Council area.”

Councillor Brian Tierney, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council pictured previously at the Rainbow Pathway on the quayside with Sha Gillespie, Jim Doherty, Chair of Foyle Pride, Dee Abbott and Catherine Hemelryk from Foyle Pride close to where the new crossing will be situated. Picture Martin McKeown. 23.10.20

Subsequently, the Mayor wrote to the Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, MLA, outlining Council’s position and requesting funding for the installation of a Rainbow crossing.

The Minister for Infrastructure indicated that “she was content that, subject to due consideration with regard to road safety and material specification, such multicoloured pedestrian crossings could be put in place”, however, the Minister advised it was not possible for her Department to fund such an initiative.

As the Covid 19 pandemic has had a significant adverse impact on the Mayoral Programme for 2020/21, an underspend has arisen and the Mayor’s office can now accommodate the £22,000 for the project.

Mayor Brian Tierney said: “In preparation for leaving office, I was shocked to see how much was left in the Mayoral budget. I think this is a very good project and something I have been working on with Foyle Pride for some time.

“I am delighted to get to this stage. I’m sure this is the first one of its type on the island of Ireland and it will offer so much encouragement to the LGBTQ+ community and this City and also across this island.

“It will also, when the time is right, attract visitors to the City and District to come and see it and have their photos beside it.

“I also want to assure Members there is still money left in the budget.”

SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly said it was ‘a very positive thing for our Council to be leading on.’

Alliance Councillor Rachael Ferguson commended the Mayor on being able to find the budget saying: “It’s an absolutely amazing project, it’s a great way to show our City and District as being inclusive.”

PBP Councillor Maeve O’Neill described it as a ‘brilliant initiative’ and Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy added it was a ‘great tribute to the LGBTQ+ community’.

Mayor, Councillor Brian Tierney confirmed discussions with the Department for Infrastructure would see the crossing running from the back of the Guildhall across to the Peace Bridge, the chosen location of the Foyle Pride Committee.

All parties were in agreement with the recommendation to fund the rainbow crossing from the Mayor’s budget. 

Speaking after the meeting Mayor, Councillor Brian Tierney said: “At the beginning of my term as Mayor I met with the Foyle Pride Committee and agreed to work with them to locate the first rainbow crossing in Ireland in the heart of Derry. Funding was the last hurdle to get this project over the line.

“I was delighted to get council support to allocate money from the budget to cover the cost.

“I hope this sends out a positive message of acceptance and appreciation to the LGBT+ community not only across Derry and Strabane but also across Ireland and further afield.”

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter