Mary McAleese speaks out on homophobia in Ireland following Sligo murders

The former Irish President, Gay Health Network, the Muslim community and more respond to the devastating murders of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee in county Sligo.

Still of Mary McAleese as she discusses homophobia with Anton Savage
Image: Via YouTube

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese has acknowledged that homophobia is not a thing of the past in this country, as many may have believed prior to the recent tragic events in Sligo.

“It’s never gone away, Anton, is the truth of the matter,” she said to Anton Savage in an interview that will air in full tomorrow, April 16.

“It’s out there, it’s on the streets. When my son was married a couple of years ago – he’s gay – when he and his husband got married, I was doing a homily at the wedding.

“I just made the point about how fortunate we are to live in a place where he and his partner, his husband, can walk the streets in relative safety. But knowing too that there’s always the homophobe, there’s always the hatred that can outcrop – but also knowing there are parts of the world he simply cannot visit.”

Specifically, Mrs McAleese expressed her belief that churches and “all the major denominations” have a significant role to play in the survival of homophobia in Ireland.

“They all have questions to ask about whether or not, and to what extent, they have been conduits for hatred,” she said.

As well as the commentary on homophobia in Ireland from Mrs McAleese, GHN (Gay Health Network) has called on people to show their support and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community by attending one of the many vigils around the country this weekend. The vigils will honour the memories of Aidan Moffitt, Michael Snee and all those who have been victims of or lost their lives to senseless violence.

“LGBTQI+ people still live with the spectre of violence never far from our minds,” said Bill Foley, Secretary of GHN. “These murders and a recent increase in violence toward LGBTQI+ people are painful reminders of the challenges our community still face in 2022. Events, such as what we have witnessed in the last week, are triggering. They, in turn, can affect our mental health and we encourage anyone who is feeling low to talk to loved ones or reach out to one of the many LGBTQI+ support organisations listed here.”

Mr Foley then welcomed the news of the fast-tracking of hate crime legislation in Ireland. “Dangerous rhetoric has consequences. As a community, we need to stand strong against hate and report acts of violence whenever they occur… This is necessary to provide safeguards in society to protect LGBTQI+ people along with other vulnerable minority groups.”

The Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council (IMPIC) has also released a statement following the arrest and conviction of Yousef Palani for the Sligo murders. “On behalf of the Irish Muslim community, the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council wishes to express our shock and sadness at the senseless murders of Michael Snee and Aidan Moffitt in Sligo this week,” the statement reads.

“We wish in particular to send our thoughts, prayers and solidarity to their families, friends and the wider LGBTQI+ community who will have found the tragic events of recent days upsetting and terrifying. We also wish to send our best wishes to the third victim who is recovering from his injuries.”

For anyone in the Dublin area who wishes to pay their respects to the late Mr Moffitt and Mr Snee, as well as the LGBTQ+ community, Pantibar has opened two books of condolence in the venue’s downstairs lounge. The books can be signed between 4 PM and 10 PM until Monday, April 18.


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