Two separate groups of protesters had to be kept apart by Gardaí outside Cork city’s main library this afternoon.
Hundreds of protesters marched on Cork’s City Hall in support of library staff who say they are being continuously harassed by anti-LGBTQ protesters.
Fórsa says library workers are being placed at risk in their own place of work by the protesters who have repeatedly entered the library to remove LGBT books they deem ‘inappropriate’.
In one incident last February, a group entered the library and ripped up a copy of 'This Book is Gay' by trans author Juno Dawson, before posting the video online.
The library has made clear it will not be removing the books and Fórsa is urging the city council to protect its library workers.
Cork City Council is a proud member of the Rainbow Cities Network
Cork City is hosting the Network Annual Conference from 17-20 January.
— Cork City Libraries (@corkcitylibrary) January 17, 2023
As the protesters gathered in support of staff this afternoon, a group opposed to the books also began to protest.
While Gardaí kept the two groups apart, there was one small altercation between members of the groups.
Fórsa members used loud hailers to try to drown out the microphone and speakers of the other group before the trade union led a march from Grand Parade to City Hall.
Liz Fay from Fórsa said staff no longer find the same enjoyment in their work.
"I would imagine that they are no longer enjoying the prospect of opening the doors in the morning because they don't know what they're going to face," she said.
"They are supported by library management and senior management within the library."
Ms Fay said the City Council must do more to protect library staff.
"The management within City Hall, senior management in HR, the City Manager, and city councillors have a duty of care and an obligation to uphold their duty of care to those employees," she said.
"They're cast adrift at the moment – they're feeling very much on their own, and they need the support of the council.
"They need support to have those vile images removed from the internet, and so they can be protected going forward."
All Cork City Library branches will open as usual tomorrow.