Locals in a small Irish village have been left in shock after a Pride flag was torn down and set on fire in the dead of night.
The Pride flag was erected outside Café de Mode in Ballon, Co Carlow – which has a population of just 700 people – to mark Pride Month.
However, the café’s owners arrived at the premises on Sunday morning (27 June) to find that the Pride flag was torn down overnight and burned to pieces.
“It’s a sad Sunday when we arrive at work and find the remains of our Pride flag on the ground,” the owners wrote on Facebook.
“Prejudice is obviously alive in Ballon,” they added.
Café de Mode owner Dave Lloyd told the Carlow Nationalist that he was horrified when he saw what had happened to their Pride flag.
“It’s upsetting to think that this happened,” he said.
“I never thought that I’d have to take the flag in at night, when the café was closed, especially in a little village like Ballon.”
Carlow community says ‘not in my name’ after Pride flag set alight
The local community has reacted with revulsion to the burning of the flag, with Carlow natives commenting on Lloyd’s Facebook post to express their support for the LGBT+ community.
“If that person thinks they are doing that on behalf of local people, well not in my name. Cowardly behaviour,” one person said.
“Absolutely disgraceful stuff! Whoever did that should be ashamed of themselves,” another wrote.
Carlow Pride organisers have since supplied Café de Mode with a new flag to put up outside their café to show those with anti-LGBT+ views that homophobia will not be tolerated.
Our community is made stronger and grows because of things like this.
John Paul Payne, chairman of Carlow Pride, told the Carlow Nationalist that the burning of the flag is “counterproductive”.
“People are reaching out to support us, so our community is actually made stronger and grows because of things like this.”
The burning of the flag is just the latest anti-LGBT+ incident to occur in Ireland during Pride Month.
At the beginning of June, Pride flags were erected outside council buildings in Waterford, a city in the south-east of Ireland. Just days later, they were burned overnight.
Councillors refused to bow to homophobia and the flags were put up again, but they were subsequently cut down in the night for a second time.
Furthermore, Waterford locals were horrified when they discovered that “straight Pride” posters had been put up throughout the city under the cover of night earlier this month.
The posters bore the message: “Straight Pride: it’s natural, it’s worked for thousands of years and you can make babies.”
The Pride flag in Ballon was burned just hours after Dublin Pride went ahead in a virtual capacity.