Organisers of Pride in Newry are celebrating today after the announcement they’ll host UK Pride 2019.

People from all over the UK and Ireland will descend on the border city in Northern Ireland next year for what could be a significant point in the campaign for equality in the province.

The award of host city for UK Pride was announced in Glasgow at the weekend, when almost 100 delegates from Pride organisations all over the UK and Ireland came together for their annual conference. Host city for 2020 was also announced, with the event going to Northern Pride in Newcastle.

Rory Rafferty, Chair of Pride in Newry, told us:

“We are so pleased with this announcement! We’re going to deliver the biggest festival our part of the world has ever seen. We’re planning a river cruise along the canal, fireworks display, Pride camping, a Games of Thrones tour and lots lots more.”

The official UK Pride flag is handed over to Newry from the Isle of Wight

UK Pride started in 2017 in Hull, attracting thousands of people to a cultural celebration in the city, which was repeated on the Isle of Wight in 2018, when more than 15,000 people turned out to support LGBT rights.

Delegates in Glasgow also unanimously supported a joint motion from Pride in Newry and Belfast Pride Festival, calling for action on marriage equality for Northern Ireland, which remains the only part of the UK still to implement a number of LGBT+ inclusive policies. A political stalemate has meant there’s a power vacuum at Stormont, with equality supporters growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress on critical changes in the law.

Rory said it’s time the rest of the UK got involved in the demand for action, including calls for the Scottish Conservatives to step up:

“I think sometimes our politicians don’t always represent who we are as a people, for us we have far more in common than that which divides us, and I think if we can work together towards an equal society that accepts everyone, we’ll be doing an awful lot better.”

“Politically you have people [in Scotland] like Ruth Davidson and for her to be happy with the situation where recently, a motion in Parliament was voted down by her Conservative colleague, well I’d really like to know what she’s doing and what other LGBT people in the Conservative Party are doing. [They] cannot claim to be pro-LGBT rights yet allow this situation in Northern Ireland to continue.”

You can follow all the latest news from UK Pride 2019 host city Newry by checking their website here.

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