Furore Over Pro-Gay Marriage Daniel O'Donnell Performing For Pope

Criticism of Daniel O'Donnell for agreeing to perform for the Pope at the Word Meeting of Families has sparked a media furore.

Daniel O'Donnell
Image Source: Photographer: Ray Burmiston

“I believe Daniel O’Donnell’s Yes stance in the referendum may have influenced many Catholic people to vote Yes in the Referendum.”

Country star, Daniel O’Donnell will be among the acts singing for Pope Francis and an estimated audience of  75,000 at the Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday, August 25. But his decision to appear was criticised by You’re a Star runner-up James Kilbane, because O’Donnell gave his support to a Yes vote in the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum.

In the lead-up to the marriage referendum, O’Donnell was asked on RTÉ Radio One’s Ray Darcy Show what his stance on same-sex marriage was.

“I just feel we’re discriminating against a lot of people who feel their lives would be better,” he replied.

“I can’t see anything on the other side that will be detrimental.

“All of the people who know they’re talking about are telling us that it’s absolutely no difference who brings up the children, as long as they’re brought up in a loving environment.”

Speaking to the Irish Sun about O’Donnell’s engagement to play at the Festival of Families, devout Catholic Kilbane asked: ”How can Daniel O’Donnell perform for the Pope when his Yes stance in the gay marriage referendum was directly opposed to the Catholic Church here?

“What’s more, I believe Daniel O’Donnell’s Yes stance in the referendum may have influenced many Catholic people to vote Yes in the Referendum.”

Kilbane was heavily criticised for his comments when he appeared on RTÉ Radio’s Liveline today, sparking a huge online reaction, with some commentators comparing Joe Duffy’s show to Father Ted.


Father Ray Kelly, the singing priest, also appeared on Liveline, speaking about his own disappointment that Nathan Carter would be singing R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts’, which the cleric performed on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year. He also weighed in on the Kilbane vs Daniel O’Donnell story, saying he thought the Catholic Church had always been very compassionate toward gay people.

Other listeners pointed out a level of hypocrisy in saying O’Donnell should not be allowed to perform for the Pope, given who sang the last time a Pope visited Ireland.

“Of course everybody is entitled to their opinion and democratic vote but I think the organisers of this event have questions to answer about this choice of act,” Kilbane told The Sun.


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