Mark Feehily receives award after campaign to change Ireland’s surrogacy laws

The Westlife band member was celebrated at the British Diversity Awards for his work to promote equality and better support for LGBTQ+ families.

Photograph of photo of Mark Feehily (left) and his fiancé Cailean O'Neill (right) at the Burberry British Diversity Awards. Both men are wearing formal dress.
Image: @Jonathan_Phang

Mark Feehily has won The Global Recognition Award for Diversity for his work to change Irish surrogacy laws and promote equality.

The ceremony was held in the Grand Connaught Rooms in London and was also hosted by broadcaster and former loose women panellist, June Sarpong.

The singer has been a well-known advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in Ireland since coming out in 2005. Mark and his partner Cailean welcomed their first child Layla through surrogacy in 2019 and her birth inspired him to speak up about surrogacy laws.


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During his moving acceptance speech, Feehily stated “This is an incredible honour and the most meaningful award I have collected in my career.”

The Westlife band member is no stranger to awards ceremonies. The band have won numerous accolades over the years including an MTV Music honour and a BRIT acknowledgement but The Global Recognition Award for Diversity is in his words, “something special”

He then went on to say “I am proud and I hope it goes some way towards highlighting the issues still faced by LGBT+ families who want to start families of their own”.

Mark has spoken previously about the anxiety that surrogacy laws can have over parents ‘The psychology of it and the stress of constantly waking up and going to sleep knowing that you’re not officially a child’s legal guardian, everybody knows that parenting has its challenges and it’s not the easiest thing in the world already, so to have all that extra stuff to worry about and stress about is just very unhelpful.”

He believes that “There is still a lot to do and our work will not stop until we have achieved full equality.” 

Alongside him was Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock who was recognised for her outstanding BBC Three documentary Race, Pop And Power, which detailed her experiences as a black woman in the music industry.

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