Listen: Breda O'Brien Calls On McAleese To "Clarify" Comments On Referendum


Today on Newstalk, Iona Institute patron and The Irish Time’s columnist, Breda O’Brien, challenged Mary McAleese’s endorsement of the Yes campaign.


Yesterday evening, former president Mary McAleese publicly called for a Yes vote in the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum, telling George Hook on Newstalk, “I’m hoping very much, my husband and I are both hoping very much, that [the referendum] will be passed.”

She added, “It is a debate about children, 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 a nation to be cherished equally’.”

McAleese also criticised the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality, explaining, “Many countries [are] now embracing the idea that homosexuality is a perfectly normal human sexual expression and that it is, as it has been thought in the past, a skewed, or in the words of the church, the rather regrettable words of the church – when I think back to what [Pope] Benedict has written about it when he described it as ‘intrinsically disordered’.”

O’Brien, who interpreted the comments as “the implication that people who vote No are part of the architecture of homophobia”, called on McAleese to clarify what she meant. Newstalk Breakfast host, Chris Donoghue replied, “She didn’t say that, you have taken that implication. She did not say those words.”

O’Brien responded, “What I am asking her is to withdraw the implication which is hanging there that in somehow if you vote No that you are part of the architecture of homophobia. I would like to ask her to clarify that that is not what she meant. I think that’s reasonable given she’s Iar-Uachtaráin na hÉireann, the former President of Ireland.”

In the interview, O’Brien once again reiterated her stance on the referendum, saying, “There is no human right to same-sex marriage. Countries can decide to vote it in but it has been established by the European Court of Human Rights that there is no human right to it.

“I don’t see it as a human right, I don’t see the right of people… I do think that there are huge important human rights here, I think there is the right to gay people to respect for their relationships, I think there is the right of gay people to stand up in front of the friends and neighbours and say I do, as they do already in civil partnerships.”


Listen to the full interview here:

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