Central Bank’s Rainbow Network launches in Dublin

Margot Slattery

The Central Bank’s Rainbow Network launched in Dublin on Wednesday May 24 2017 at a special inaugural event, attended by Governor Philip R. Lane, Sodexo Ireland CEO Margot Slattery and more than 120 Central Bank staff.

The new network supports an organisational culture in which LGBTQ colleagues can live and work openly. It also aims to combat homophobic or transphobic behaviours and demonstrate the Central Bank’s leadership as a public sector employer.

Governor Lane introducing Margot, currently LGBTQ businessperson of the year, as keynote speaker at the event in North Wall Quay said the Rainbow Network launch was ‘a happy day’ for the Central Bank.

He said after the vote for equal marriage two years ago and the 2015 gender recognition law, which enshrine transgender rights, Ireland was a European leader in social acceptance.

“While we can all be proud of those achievements, there is more to be done. Research published last year in the United States by Human Rights Campaign showed that 62 percent of millennial LGBTQ graduates in the US return to the closet when they enter the workplace. We all know people who are open in a social setting but shut up when they go to work.“

He said: “We spend so much time in work, it is only right that we can present ourselves honestly and openly to our colleagues, many of whom become our friends.

“There is a clear business case for us to have a diverse and inclusive workplace. In order to carry out our mission of Safeguarding Stability and Protecting Consumers, we need to make good decisions, challenge our approaches and safeguard against groupthink. Diversity and inclusion help to achieve these outcomes.”

Margot Slattery said: “What we are all doing here in Ireland’s Central Bank matters, because it is special. It matters because you here doing this - it’s a public acceptance and a visible embrace of difference and inclusion of our togetherness.”

She spoke about her own life as a woman initially afraid to state her sexuality at work and how much progress had been made in recent years. For her, “visibility and endorsement in the workplace” were important.

“There are the things you say and the things you don’t say. How you make people feel included. People who feel open and give of themselves fully can bring so much more to the organisation; they are more productive and focus their energy on development and growth. For us in Ireland and Europe right now this is vital.”

Earlier, the Governor spoke about Central Bank staff choosing ‘BelongTo’ as one of our partner charities. "Over the last two years more than €50,000 has been donated in support of their work in schools, combating homophobic and transphobic bullying, supporting teachers and mentoring parents and LGBTQ young people,” he said.

The Governor added that the Central Bank’s Diversity and Inclusion programme has seen the Women’s Network go from ‘strength to strength’. He said there would be a whole matrix of networks launching in the near future in the Central Bank including a Parents and Carers and a BankAbility Network.