Tipperary Pride family fun day hit by possible hoax and vandalism

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Tipperary Pride organizer Evelyn Roberts said Pride parade decorations were vandalized in Thurles.

Ms Roberts said the Pride committee had permission to hang banners and flags in the town of Thurles, and that after the event they were to be taken down.

When they went to collect them, 19 of the 20 flags had been stolen and the banners had been torn down. These decorations are still missing.

Ms Roberts says she informed the gardaí of the incident.

Pride of Tipperary

Tipperary Pride started in 2019 and has been an annual event in Thurles ever since.

Ms Roberts said she started the event after hosting a birthday party and was asked to consider a bigger event.
“I realized there was a huge space to include in Thurles and Tipperary,” Ms Roberts said.

This year the parade started at 2pm from the Parnell Street car park. This year the committee also hosted a family fun day in Thurles Town Park from 2-4pm.

The family event consisted of booths, face painting, a bouncy castle, circus performers and a drag queen dressed as a fairy.

From 4 p.m., there was drag-e-oke at Skehan’s bar. From 8pm until late an adult entertainment event was held at Mrs Crokes Bar.

Positive reception

According to Ms. Roberts, despite some negative comments, comments about the event were overwhelmingly positive.

“I guess there were positives and negatives but more positive than anything. Everyone who had brought kids was thrilled there were things for the kids to do,” Ms Roberts said.

“Actually, the event went very well. We started with our parade in the Parnell Street car park, and there was music playing, and we met there at 2 o’clock.
“At the head of the parade, the firefighters of Thurles and Thurles Garda took us through the city.

“We had about 100 people in the parade, which was great, so we were very happy about that,” Ms Roberts said.

Allegations

Following Saturday’s event, allegations were made against Tipperary Pride organizers claiming they distributed phallus-shaped lollipops to children at the playground.

The heavily edited screenshots were shared on social media with accusations against Tipperary Pride and Tipperary County Council.

The TipperaryLive was provided with videos and photos. However, due to inconsistencies in videos and photos, we are unable to verify their authenticity. None of the stills were suitable for breeding.

The TipperaryLive spoke to Noreen O’Sullivan from Thurles, who provided us with the photographs (video stills) and filed a complaint with Tipperary County Council.

Ms O’Sullivan says she did not take the photos but received them from another person in a Facebook Messenger group who does not wish to come forward.

Ms O’Sullivan says she went to the park the day of the event and took video to show families she was avoiding the event.

Ms O’Sullivan says she objected to the Pride event being held in Thurles Town Park a few weeks ago, but Tipperary County Council did not take her concerns seriously.

She said those involved in Pride “don’t have the same moral standards as parents”.

Ms. O’Sullivan specifically opposes drag queens and late-night entertainment.

“It’s not family. These groups have more rights than children and parents,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

She acknowledged that evening entertainment was separate from the family fun day, but said:

“They don’t just change their morality overnight.”

Tipperary County Council

The Tipperary Star contacted Tipperary County Council, Tipperary Pride and Thurles gardaí.

Tipperary County Council said its role in the event was to approve use of the venue, which is maintained by the council.

They are aware of the accusations, but the organizers assured them that they were not responsible.
Pride organizers

Evelyn Roberts told the TipperaryLive that under no circumstances has anyone associated with Tipperary Pride handed out phallic-shaped sweets to children.

“It’s just sick. Under no circumstances have we distributed anything derogatory.

“They were in no way distributed to Tipperary Pride,” Ms Roberts said.

She says the candies they handed out were in rainbow bags and were generic store-bought brands.
They were given out as prizes for a butterfly-themed scavenger hunt.

Ms Roberts also said she had not seen anyone else handing out inappropriate sweets.

However, Ms Roberts said a colleague brought her to the attention of an incident in which a woman approached them in the parking lot and made accusations to those present.

She also says they received hate online in the weeks leading up to the event.

She said she received a message from someone in town after the event that the photos were circulating online.

Gardai

Thurles gardai was present on the playground during the Pride event, having led the parade with the Thurles firefighters.

They told the TipperaryLive that no reports had been made to them regarding inappropriate confections or the event itself.

They say they are aware of some messages sent to the organizers of the event, but no official report has been made.

They believe the opposition to the event is in the minority and saw no problems at the event themselves.

For them, the event “went without a hitch”.

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