Man arrested over alleged harassment after anti-LGBTQ+ Cork library protests

Cork's Grand Parade city library.

A protester opposed to a library in Cork, Ireland, stocking LGBTQ+ books has been arrested on charges related to reports of alleged harassment. 

On Saturday (26 August), a man was arrested and detained at the Garda station after handing himself in at the Bridewell Garda Station in Cork.

The man handed himself in after Gardaí attended his address earlier that day, at a time when he wasn’t home. He has since been released and a “file will now be prepared for the director of prosecutions”, Gardaí told the Irish Examiner.

It is believed that the person arrested has been involved with protests against the stocking of LGBTQ+ books in Cork City Library.

In March, Cork City Council confirmed that staff at its Grand Parade library had experienced intimidation and abuse from people opposed to books containing LGBTQ+ themes and storylines. Staff were reportedly called slurs such as “paedophile” and “groomer”, and protesters destroyed LGBTQ+ books, including a copy of Juno Dawson’s This Book is Gay.

Despite the intimidation they faced, the library’s staff confirmed that LGBTQ+ literature would be kept on the shelves, and in June, approximately 400 people rallied outside Cork City Library in support of staff who had suffered abuse and intimidation. 

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An anti-LGBTQ+ counter-protest took place at the same time, but was attended by fewer than 20 people.

At the end of July, Cork Library was forced to close early for staff and public safety in advance of a planned demonstration by anti-LGBTQ+ protesters.

Right-wing hysteria over LGBTQ+ books for young people have begun to spread to Ireland from the US, where bans on reading materials are becomingly disturbingly commonplace and teachers face censure for reading such books to pupils.

Some parent groups have also called for bans on books that discuss issues of race and history, and, in a Florida school, a graphic novel telling the story of Anne Frank was banned after a parent group expressed concerns about it.