Mr Varadkar (centre, in jeans) | Peter Morrison/Press Association | 17146
Attending Belfast Pride yesterday, Republic of Ireland Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it is “only a matter of time” until same sex marriage is legalised in Northern Ireland. Earlier, he attended a Gay Pride breakfast meeting at the Northern Whig bar in Belfast where he met gay members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, pictured, and others.
The DUP did not oppose Mr Varadkar’s attendence at the event, but a small group of Free Presbyterians staged a protest across the road.
Asked if he believed gay marriage would be introduced in the North, Mr Varadkar – who is openly gay – replied: “I do, I think it’s only a matter of time. Of course, the decision is for the Northern Ireland Assembly. But I am confident that like other western European countries they will make that decision in due course.”
Leo Varadkar | Cyril Byrne | 17103
Congratulations to Leo Varadkar who has been elected the new leader of the Republic of Ireland’s Fine Gael party and will consequently become the youngest and first openly gay taoiseach, ten years after entering politics.
In 2015, Mr. Varadkar was widely praised for bravery and honesty when he became the first Irish government minister to come out. His stand is credited with bolstering the successful gay marriage “yes” referendum campaign, making Ireland the first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote.
Mr. Varadkar was born in Dublin in 1979, and is the son of an Irish Catholic nurse from County Waterford and a Hindu doctor from Mumbai, India. His parents met in England in the 1960s and lived in India for a time before moving to Ireland.
The Irish Republic’s Charities Regulatory Authority has appointed inspectors to carry out a statutory investigation into GLEN, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network. Glen announced last week it will close following a review of its operations.
The CRA emphasised that the opening of a statutory investigation is not in itself a finding of any wrongdoing, and the scope of the investigation will include the administration, governance and financial management of the charity by Glen’s trustees and whether charitable assets have been used exclusively for charitable purposes and can be accounted for.
Conan G Shore | Twitter | 17093
Ireland’s best known gay club’s exterior was vandalised with homophobic messages overnight. Discriminatory messages were chalked on the The George on Dublin’s George street in the early hours of this morning.
The vile messages were promptly washed away by staff.
The vandalism comes during a weekend of celebrations as Ireland marks two years since the Marriage Equality Refendum passed.
Looks like GLEN’s work is far from finished.
Gay Activist is sad to note the end of yet another organisation which has provided excellent service to the gay community, this time in the Irish Republic.
RTÉ notes that the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, better known as GLEN, is to close following a review of its operations. There have been problems with its financial controls, and funding has been withdrawn.
Three employees are being made redundant.
Executive director Áine Duggan, resigned saying she raised financial issues and made the voluntary disclosure to the regulator, and co-founders Kieran Rose also resigned saying he regretted that he had not declared supports given by Glen to him during his Senate election campaign, and he said he had paid back over 11,000 euros.
Glen was set up in 1988 to promote gay rights and was a prominent backer of the 2015 Marriage Equality campaign. The Health Service Executive had withheld funding from Glen this year.
File photo | Irish Times | 17071
The Irish gay rights group Glen is being investigated into whether it breached rules on political campaigning and financial management. The charity has appointed an external investigator to examine allegations of bullying made by staff.
The Charities Regulator has told Glen to provide it with financial records, details of credit cards and the report of an independent auditor by the end of this month. One of the issues being examined by the regulator concerns the use of the charity’s resources to support political campaigning.
Glen’s co-chairman Kieran Rose stepped down after it emerged that campaign literature for his Seanad election campaign last year was printed at the charity.
The intervention by the regulator follows a disclosure made by Glen in response to concerns raised by the executive director, Áine Duggan, appointed last October, who raised a number of issues with the board after carrying out a due diligence of the organisation, which works on issues such as sexual health, mental health and education in the LGBT community.
Father Bernard Lynch and Billy Desmond | Liam Burke/Press 22 | 17021
A gay priest from Co Clare who was involved in the ‘boat to vote’ campaign in the marriage equality referendum in the Irish Republic in 2015 got married to his long time partner yesterday.
Father Lynch became the first Catholic priest in the world to have a civil partnership in 2006, and the passing of the same-sex marriage referendum allowed the two men to be married.
At the ceremony, a proclamation was read out paying tribute to Fr Lynch “for being a tireless advocate for the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for more than 40 years as an out gay and proud Roman Catholic priest”. 67-year-old Fr Lynch helped people living with HIV and AIDS in New York in the 1980s and has been “a human rights champion” for his extraordinary service and “his courage in the face of tremendous adversity”. Fr Lynch helped lead the first ‘boat to vote’ campaign for the 2015 marriage equality referendum in his role as an advocate for the LGBT community in London.
Gay Activist sends congratulations.
The lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men in the Irish Republic has been lifted.
From today (January 16) a man who last had sex with another man more than one year ago will now be allowed to donate, as long as he meets the other blood donor selection criteria.
Any man who has had sex with another man within the last 12 months will still be prohibited from donating.
Media HQ | 16418ga
The ban in the Irish Republic on gay men donating blood will be finally lifted on January 16 next year. The ban was put in place in Ireland during the 1980s when Aids was a major sexual health risk, especially in the gay community.
Health Minister Simon Harris, pictured, announced he would lift the ban after the Irish Blood Transfusion Service recommended that gay men should be able to donate blood, following a review of scientific research and practices in other countries.
The ban was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales five years ago, and in Northern Ireland the ban was lifted last month.
Graham Egan of Kenilworth Road, Rathmines, Ireland was found unresponsive in a shed behind his home on January 23 last year. His partner, Alan Bigley, told Dublin Coroner’s Court that the couple, who were together 11 years, had dinner the previous evening and sat watching TV. Mr Bigley went to bed shortly after midnight. “Graham said he was going out to the shed to chill out. We use it as a discreet playroom,” he said.
Mr Bigley woke at 4.40am to find his partner was not in bed. He went outside to the shed where he found Mr Egan in an unresponsive state, wearing a gas mask and there was evidence of sex toys. Mr Egan was rushed to St James’s Hospital. On arrival he was not breathing and was in cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at 5.39am.
Garda Conor Brady said the man had been found in a concrete structure that appeared to be purpose-built for sexual activity. An autopsy found Mr Egan had inhaled gastric contents following a recent meal. “The mask was used to produce a hypoxic state to produce a heightened sexual response, but if anything goes wrong it can be lethal,” said State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy.