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News, Views & Events
Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Founding of the UCC LGBT Staff Network
Aula Maxima, UCC, Thursday October 12th, 4:30 p.m.
"Where people do not feel that they will be accepted, then they cannot contribute to their full potential. This is not just a personal loss, but also a loss to the organisation or business, and also ultimately to society generally" said Dr Michael McCarthy, the then President of University College Cork (UCC) at the launch of the first formally recognised LGBT Staff Network in universities or any higher educaitonal institution in Ireland.
On October 12th 2017, the UCC LGBT Staff Network will be celebrating its 10th year with an anniversary event held in the Aula maxima, the Great Hall of UCC.
Proceedings will start at 4:30 p.m. sharp with a brief introduction, followed by speeches by President Patrick O'Shea and the Senior Vice President Academic and Registrar Professor Caroline Fennell. At approximately 5 p.m., attendees will enjoy a performance by the celebrated Cork LGBT choir Choral Confusion, followed by a reception/social event with drinks and finger food.
Commenting on how attitudes in Ireland have changed over the past quarter century, founding Network co-chair Cathal Kerrigan recalled that in 1980 the new student gay society was denied recognition by the college authorities. Only nine years later, in 1989, did the colege Governing Body approve its recognition. By contrast, the initiative for the LGBT Staff NEtwork came from UCC HR. Now, a decade later, we celebrate the Network in a country where same-sex marriage is recognised and our government is led by an openly gay Taoiseach!
Amongst the activities organised by the new NEtwork was the 2009 "Pushing the Boundaries" seminar looking at the processes and challenges involved in setting up a support network for LGBT staff in the workplace. They concluded that the invisibility and isolation of LGBT staff are disruptive to working conditions and opportunities for promotion.*
Dr Katherine O'Donnell from the School of Social Justice in UCD remarked "Our universities are about creating environments where the most creative and committed thinkers, regardless of their race, class, creed, gender, or sexual orientation, can find a place and the supports to flourish".*
*Report of seminar from 2009