With the annual Pride celebrations recently finished, a number of people in Fermanagh are hoping to bring the parade to the county in 2020.

Alliance representative Matthew Beaumont and Cross-Community Labour Alternative Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh have come together to try and create Enniskillen Pride putting out the call for any like-minded people to get in touch.

Pride is an annual celebration of LGBTQ+ people held in all over the world. The Pride parade began as a march at a time when LGBTQ+ people had fewer rights than they do now. This is a time to celebrate how far they have come as a society, but also to continue to demand better.

Speaking about where the idea came from, Matthew Beaumont says that although Donal and himself would have a lot of differing views, they agree on quite a number of issues as well, one of them being trying to make Fermanagh the best place it can possibly be.

“We both think it is a good idea to work together to make Fermanagh the best place it possibly can be,” explained Matthew.

“And we have just started looking in terms of big names and big ideas and internationally renowned events that we can bring to the county and it was an exchange of ideas and we were both talking about pride and we both pretty much had the same idea.

“And ever since then it was how do we do this? We can’t really do it ourselves. We want it to be a region wide thing which led to us putting out the statement last week wanting to hear from those who want to be a part of it, interested in supporting it, interested in sponsoring or whatever it may be with each individual party.”

The posts and polls that have gone up on social media have in the main received very positive responses according to Matthew with people all across Fermanagh reaching out to lend their support.

“The vast majority have been beyond exceptional. We have had some truly lovely messages and some really quite personal messages as well from those that have felt excluded as a result of who they choose to love and find attractive.

“And people are taking a stand to actually celebrate their difference is quite a lovely thing to these people and families.

“We have had mothers and fathers who have reached out as well to say thank you that we are trying to do something that celebrates simple facts about their kids.”

However Matthew admits that some responses and messages have quite unsavoury as people make it known their opposition to the idea of pride celebrations coming to Fermanagh.

On one of the polls, Sinn Féin Councillor Sheamus Greene voted against attending Enniskillen Pride, however when contacted by this newspaper he clarified his position saying he had no problem with Pride taking place in Fermanagh saying he didn’t intentionally vote against it and he would be in contact with Matthew to clear up the matter..

“I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. I am genuinely shocked.

“I even mentioned in a debate at Council about people trying to stop others people’s rights.”

But this negativity has made him even more determined to deliver on the objective.

The Rainbow Project, a health organisation that works to improve the physical, mental & emotional health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people in Northern Ireland, has offered its support and Matthew is now calling on anybody who can help to lend their support.

“The next step is to let this run to get a bit more reaction, both positive and negative. I am going to be writing to all the elected politicians as well.

“We are looking for people who have shown an interest in getting involved to create some kind of committee to actually take it forward from just a concept to an actual organisation and planning.

“It won’ happen if people don’t back it,” stressed Matthew.

For further info please get in touch with Donal on donal.ocofaigh@fermanaghomagh.com or Matthew on matthew.beaumont@allianceparty.org