Thousands attend Dublin's Pride Parade

Leo Varadkar thanked the LGBTQ community for changing Ireland during his speech

Thousands attend Dublin's Pride Parade

Gay Pride Parade 2017 in Dublin, Ireland | Image: PA images

Updated at 16:02

Thousands of people marched through Dublin this afternoon for the annual pride celebrations.

Over 30,000 took part in the Dublin Pride Parade, with the Taoiseach addressing the crowd in Smithfield after 3pm.

There were also a number of other parades taking place across the country in places such as Cork, Galway, Limerick and Foyle in County Derry. 

This year's festivities took place amid heightened security following recent terror alerts across the globe.

The parade started at Stephen's Green and ended across the River Liffey in Smithfield Square.


Leo Varadkar speech 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joined the Dublin Pride Parade today, addressing crowds in Smithfiled where he said: "The day I became Taoiseach was also a sad day.  It was the same day a great champion of freedom and equality in this country passed away. 

"I know all of us were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Ann Louise Gilligan, a brilliant academic and community leader, whose courage helped change the laws in this country. 

"If someone had predicted back in 1992 that one year later homosexuality would be decriminalised, or that 23 years later gay and lesbian people would be legally able to marry the person they love, or that two years after that a gay man would be elected Taoiseach of the country, then I think they would actually have been derided. 

Varadkar addressed his detractors saying that it's healthy to disagree "Some activists get quite annoyed when I don’t agree with them on every other issue. 

"But I think that is actually a good and a healthy thing because the LGBT community is not a political monolith where everyone thinks the same or believes the same thing. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attends the Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival in Dublin

Diverse community

"We are of course a diverse community in ourselves, with people from all sorts of opinions: left, right and centre, secular, religious, pro-choice and not, for globalisation and also campaigning against it. 

"But rather we should celebrate the fact that we live in a free country, in a democracy where we have a Taoiseach who happens to be gay.

He finished by saying "I don’t think my election as Taoiseach actually made history, it just reflected the enormous changes that had already occurred in our country. 

"So, I don’t think that I have changed things for you; I think people like you have changed things for me," before adding "And for that I am very grateful. Thank you."