IRELAND has been ranked 17th out of 49 European countries in an annual report on LGBT+ rights.
The 2019 Rainbow Europe report, published this week, ranked each nation on a scale between 0% (gross violations of human rights, discrimination) and 100% (respect of human rights, full equality).
Ireland was given an overall gay rights score of 47%, considerably lower than the UK's eighth-place score of 65%.
Malta received by far the highest score of all European countries at 90%, followed by Belgium (73%), Luxembourg (70%), Finland (69%) and Denmark (67%) in the top five.
At the other end of the scale, the nations with the lowest scores were found to be Monaco (11%), Russia (10%), Armenia (6%), Turkey (5%) and Azerbaijan (3%).
Ireland scored just 13% for tackling hate crime and hate speech, 17% for supporting the rights of LGBT+ asylum-seekers and 24% for equality and non-discrimination.
However, the Emerald Isle scored highly in the "legal gender recognition and bodily integrity" category at 69%, and even higher for marriage equality and the rights of LGBT+ families with 76%.
Ireland was also given a score of 100% in the "civil society space" category – meaning no State obstruction of freedom of assembly or enough protection for public events.
The report made a number of recommendations to Ireland to improve its score, including updating the country's existing legal framework for legal gender recognition – in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2015 – to ensure the process is free from age limits and explicitly includes intersex and non-binary people.
It also calls on the Irish Government to adapt a comprehensive national action plan on LGBTI equality that "expressly mentions all SOGISC (sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics) grounds and fully implement the actions outlined in the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy 2018-2020."
Rainbow Europe is a European Union-funded benchmarking tool published annually by IGLA-Europe: The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
To view the Rainbow Europe 2019 rankings in full click here