The director of The Rainbow Project, John O’Doherty and the Equality Officer, Matthew McDermott recently met with the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O’Neill MLA.
The meeting was arranged to discuss people living in rural areas who identify as LGB and how the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development could help them and what role the Department will play in the development of the Sexual Orientation Strategy and Action Plan.
John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said, ‘ We found the meeting very useful and welcome the positive approach being taken by the Minister in terms of addressing issues being faced by LGB people living in rural areas. LGB people living in rural areas tend to be much more isolated than people living in urban areas, have limited access to required support or information and generally report experiences in terms of hate crime, housing issues, access to health care that are much more acute, to our organisation. We discussed this with the Minister and suggested some measures the Department should consider to begin addressing these’.
Matthew McDermott, Equality Officer at the Rainbow Project said, ‘We discussed the Sexual Orientation Strategy and the need for the Minister and the Department to positively contribute to that process. The Minister was very receptive to our views and we hope to continue to work with her department, and others, to positively address issues being faced by rural LGB people’.