June 24, 2017, 4:04 p.m.
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TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR joined tens of thousands of people at Dublin Pride today, and told crowds at Smithfield that the fact that Ireland has a gay Taoiseach is not something he would ask anyone to celebrate.In his speech, he also pledged to advance the cause of LGBT rights at home and abroad while he holds the office of Taoiseach.He also paid tribute to activist Dr Ann Louise Gilligan, the wife of his cabinet colleague Katherine Zappone, and paid tribute to the movement of people who have made Dublin Pride grow year-on-year.ProgressThe Taoiseach said that he would use his time in office to represent LGBT rights – at home, in the North and further afield.He said: “I pledge as Taoiseach to use my office, for as long as I hold it, to advance the cause of LGBT rights, to press for marriage equality across Ireland, to speak up for LGBT rights around the world where they are under attack, and to push for the implementation of the sexual health strategy here at home at a time when it is more important than ever.”Varadkar said that “sometimes people are surprised that not all LGBT people support [his] policies, or celebrated [his] election as Taoiseach”.This, however, is a “healthy thing”, he said. He said that the LGBT community is not a “political monolith” where he everyone believes the same thing.He went on to say that having a gay man as Taoiseach was not something he would ask anyone to celebrate:A growing movementVaradkar also paid tribute to the LGBT community in Ireland, for its tremendous progress in recent decades. He said:He praised the movement towards this progress as not being done by any one person, but by LGBT people, their friends, families and supporters.“I don’t think my election as Taoiseach actually made history,” he said. “It just reflected it. It reflected the enormous changes that had already occurred in our country.Well in excess of 30,000 people attended Dublin Pride this year, which ran from St Stephen’s Green to Smithfield.