CAI statement on grants awarded

Changing Attitude Ireland is a voluntary organisation which received grants of £1,000 and £2,365 in 2008 from Northern Ireland’s OFMDFM and Belfast City Council respectively. Church groups are eligible for public funding, provided they meet the relevant criteria and the stringent conditions that apply. The two applications from Changing Attitude Ireland met these criteria and conditions.

Sectarianism is not the only prejudice in Northern Ireland. Homophobia is also a serious problem affecting not just gay persons but their families, and which needs to be challenged by both government and voluntary organisations. Changing Attitude Ireland makes a particular contribution to this by working for the inclusion of gay persons and by challenging faith-based homophobia. For example, we have taken the lead in developing IDAHO, the International Day Against Homophobia, which is something everyone should be able to subscribe to whatever their faith or sexual orientation. Our public lectures were successful cross-community events. The two small grants represent very good value for money.

Some people may think that no government money should be given to the LGBT sector, which continues to be underfunded, just as some may think equally that no government money should be given to the Orange Order or the GAA. Gay and lesbian persons contribute to the public purse as taxpayers and should be eligible to receive a just share of public funding. Gay and lesbian persons are to be found in all our churches. They have been subjected to prejudice and exclusion for too long. Now is the time for a welcoming and inclusive church.