Row as university is given £82,000 taxpayer grant to study the 'experiences of Irish gays in London'

Last updated at 11:45 27 March 2008

A university has been awarded £82,000 of taxpayers' money to research 'the experiences' of Irish homosexuals living in London.

The sociology department at the University of Essex said it will use a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council to study the lives of Irish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the capital.

Roisin Ryan-Flood, the sociologist leading the project, says she wants to 'uncover the ways in which contemporary sexual citizenship, migration and LGBT imaginaries of the metropolis are mutually implicated in complex ways'.

A spokeswoman at the university said: 'Researchers... are looking for participants to take part in a research study, which aims to investigate the experiences of Irish LGBT people living in London.

'The project, which will be funded by an £82,000 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council, will explore why Irish LGBT migrants have chosen to move to London and their experiences there. It will focus on notions of home, identity and belonging.'

But the decision to award the university the money has been met with frustration by the Taxpayers' Alliance.

A spokesman for the campaign group said: 'It sounds like it's come straight out of a political correctness joke book. I'm lost for words.'

Dr Ryan-Flood added: 'Metropolitan centres have long been associated with tolerance of sexual diversity and established queer communities, and London is a particularly attractive destination for Irish LGBT migrants looking for a more supportive social climate.'

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