The HSE’s Reach Out Network has reconvened after a hiatus since March 2020 and is planning a major re-launch, this newspaper has been told.
The Reach Out Network is the HSE’s staff network for employees who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual (LGBTQIA+).
According to minutes of the April meeting of the HSE people and culture committee, the “newly-reconvened” network had met twice in 2022 and planned a major re-launch later in the year.
“The HSE launched its first staff network for employees who are LGBTQIA+ and their allies on 21 June 2017,” a HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent. “The network met regularly until March 2020 and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The spokesperson said the network aims to provide an enhanced voice in the workplace for HSE staff who are LGBTQIA+ and their allies, to provide a safe place to discuss issues relating to sexual orientation at work, and to contribute to the development of a culture at work that supports diversity, equality, and inclusion.
“In seeking to progress these aims, the Reach Out Network explicitly supports the HSE’s People Strategy 2019-2024,” added the spokesperson.
Separately, in July, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth Roderic O’Gorman, told the Dáil that implementation of the National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy 2019-2021 was “severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“In particular, there were significant obstacles to the achievement of many of the actions under the ‘visible and included’ and ‘healthy’ pillars. I extended the lifetime of the strategy until the end of this year and it will be evaluated thereafter.”
The strategy contains 108 actions and Minister O’Gorman said that “relevant Departments have reported that 17 actions have been completed”.
“Work is ongoing on implementation of the remaining actions.”