Monday, 20 April 2015

“All I wanted to do was fit in”: Son of Mary McAleese on growing up gay in Ireland

McAleese – who is now a Ryanair executive – is campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote in next month’s same-sex marriage referendum.

Emma McAleese, Chelsea Clinton, and Justin McAleese at Áras an Uachtarain in 2000.
Emma McAleese, Chelsea Clinton, and Justin McAleese at Áras an Uachtarain in 2000.
Image: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!
Updated 6pm
JUSTIN MCALEESE, SON of the former President, has written a moving article for today’s Irish Independent on his experience growing up gay in Ireland.
McAleese (30), who is a Ryanair executive, came out to his family when he was 21.
He writes that “at 14 I couldn’t tell anyone that I suspected I was gay because society didn’t let me.
When I was 16 a girl, who I didn’t know, asked me directly: “Are you gay?” The panic, the shame, the fear. How did she know? What did I say or wear that made me gay.
McAleese is campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote in next month’s same-sex marriage referendum, as part of the ‘Yes Equality’ group in south Dublin.
In an interview this week, his mother made her first public comments on the upcoming vote. Speaking to Newstalk’s George Hook, she said she and her husband had been watching the debate closely, and believed it was a human rights issue.
“It is a debate about children,” McAleese said.
“People have been saying it’s about children – and we believe it to be about Ireland’s gay children and about their future, and about the kind of future we want for Ireland.
“We want – in the words of the Proclamation – ‘the children of the nation to be cherished equally’… The adult children, the children yet unborn, the gay children yet unborn.
“We want them to be born into a world where if they fall in love with someone they can express that love fully, and that they can live the life that Martin and I have had – we’re coming up to 40 years married now.”
Michael Barron, founding director of BeLonG To, the national organisation for LGBT young people, said:
Justin’s mother, Mary, has been a long-term supporter of BeLonG To, and we are very grateful for the backing she has given our organisation down through the years.
His words are brave and inspiring, and I have no doubt they will provide comfort and hope for young people throughout the country who are feeling isolated because of their sexuality.


  1. Another whinging queer. Catherine Tate's "our John's a gay man now!" was written for bucket mouth McAleese.

    1. Y'know scientific study has shown that homophobes like you are actually closet queers. I'd keep quiet if I were you.

    2. It's interesting to see the range of views on the subjects blogged by Pat: from the perceptively intelligent educated and mature ones seeking to understand, to the other extreme of patently dismissive, intolerant, small minded abusive invective displayed by others.
      Concerning Mary McAleese, ex professor of law and President of Ireland, Brendan O'Connor, writing in "Comment & Analysis" in the Sunday Independent concerning her comments when interviewed on the forthcoming marriage equality referendum, describes her as ; " ...a unique person in that she is an icon, ......the closest thing we have to a female cardinal, ......and if she is still able to be a good Catholic, yet stand up to the church on this one, then she gives them permission to do it choose over ideology and dogma."
      "Whinging queer, ....bucket mouth McAleese" I'm not sure that many would agree with such pejorative analysis without some informative evidence. Perhaps you could kindly assist contributor @ 00:42 on 21/4?

    3. Well you, (anonymous @00:42 on 21/4), have had over a week to reply with some evidence of your assertions. Since you've provided none, perhaps one could now reasonably ask who could most justifiably be called a bucket mouth?

    4. Well another week has gone by with no reply. Does that mean you have no informative evidence and that your comment was possibly an ill informed small minded ignorant blast from an intolerant self righteous closed mind?
      Or perhaps you do have some "informed evidence", but on examination, realise that its fragility, if placed here, would be so ridiculed that you have chosen not to comment?
      On the other hand you could simply have missed my request of the 23rd April, in which case I apologise and look forward to your explanation.

  2. Speaking of gay.. Where's Sean Page and MMM?

  3. Didnt know I was missed somuch. I was sorting out my paid job on civvy street. More of a chore than a gaily and joyfull affair.. Looking at all these clerics that are being showed up for what they are-sod them all.Leave them to it and concentrate on spreading the word as the Master would want. By the way what about Charlie and Millies proposed visit to this green and pleasent Isle. Time for a bit of bridge building. What what tally ho.......

    1. Helllloooooo Seaaaannnnn Paaaagggeeeee!