MLA hits out at Translink for backing Pride festival

Translink has defended its backing of the annual Belfast Pride festival, claiming it is demonstrating its commitment to serving the whole community.

Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 12:05 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:02 pm

Northern Ireland’s public transport provider has been accused of “unnecessarily adopting a political campaign” after it rebranded its website and social media pages for Belfast Pride, which is taking place this week.

Translink’s website, Twitter feed and Facebook page all include the rainbow motif, which is widely used as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride.

Criticising the bus and train company’s move, TUV leader Jim Allister said: “I think it’s divisive. Pride Week, as people call it, is an overtly political campaign directed specifically at obtaining same-sex marriage amongst other things, and all those things are wholly political and wholly divisive campaigns.

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The Translink website has been given a colourful new look for Pride Week.

“Just as Translink shouldn’t be emblazoning itself with anything political so it shouldn’t be emblazoning itself with support for Pride.”

The North Antrim MLA added: “Why do they want to cause division and offend people by unnecessarily adopting political campaigns? It might be fashionable in some quarters, but it doesn’t make it right.”

But defending the decision to show support for the Pride festival, a Translink spokesperson responded: “Translink is supporting the Belfast Pride Festival this year, demonstrating our commitment to serving the whole community.”

Many businesses and other organisations across Northern Ireland have taken a similar stance to Translink, erecting rainbow flags and symbols to demonstrate their support for Belfast Pride, which this year has the theme ‘Come Out for Change’.

TUV leader, Jim Allister.

The 10-day festival will feature more than 100 events and runs until Sunday, August 5.

The centrepiece of the celebrations will be the Pride Parade in Belfast city centre on Saturday, August 4.