Taoiseach tells story of Irish gay teenager at EU Summit to highlight Hungary's homophobic laws

Taoiseach Micheál Martin shared the experiences of Ruairí Holohan in order to show how Hungary's new legislation went against the values of the EU.

A man in a board room talking to a teenage boy on zoom
Image Source: Taoiseach tells story of gay teenager at EU summit

Last week, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin met with the leaders of the 27 nation bloc at the EU Summit and had the opportunity to tell the story of gay Drogheda teenager Ruairí Holohan.

Martin spoke to Ruairí virtually last year as part of an event for World Children’s Day. The teenager who was 15 at the time told the Taoiseach about the everyday homophobia he experiences.

“I took the opportunity to share an interview I had last November with Ruairí Holohan from Drogheda in the context of UNICEF project in terms of the rights of children,” said the Taoiseach.

“Rory took me through his story in the interview, and he was raising the issue of homophobic behaviour in schools, the difficulties for young people, teenagers in particular, as they come out as they want to engage and so forth and the challenges that they face,” added Martin.

This comes as tensions are rising within the 27 nation bloc after Hungary introduced new legislation that would ban sharing information around homosexuality or the transgender community to people under 18 in sex education programs, films, or advertisements.

The Hungarian government has said that it will protect children. Upon his arrival at the EU Summit last week Orban defended the new law insisting that “It’s not about homosexuality, it’s about the kids and the parents.” This is despite many pointing out that it links homosexuality with pedophilia.

The majority of EU country leaders have insisted that discrimination must not be tolerated in the bloc and told Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that the new law goes against the EU’s fundamental values.

Martin has said that the country “was left in no doubt that a line was crossed” with the introduction of the new legislation, adding that he made it clear to the Prime Minister that the new law will “will harm many people and suppress the rights of your people.”

With continued pressure for Hungary to leave the EU, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney told reporters in Cork that the call is “premature” and “The debate in relation to LGBTI rights in Hungary is now very much underway in the European Union. Let’s wait and see where the consensus moves on that issue.”

The new law is set to be entered into force in 15 days.

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