Doubts cast over gay snub story
Mystery continues to surround the identity of a couple who wrote to GCN (Gay Community News) magazine alleging that they had been asked to leave a Dublin city-centre restaurant after a nearby table complained about them holding hands.
The letter, which comes just five months after this year's landslide gay marriage referendum, has provoked widespread outrage and some incredulity.
It detailed a night at an unnamed Dublin restaurant at which the couple were celebrating their anniversary. As they held hands and touched, the letter says, a waiter approached asking them to stop showing each other physical affection.
The couple asked to see the manager, and the letter continues: "When we said we had every right to show each other affection, the manager said that it was unfortunate that other customers were uncomfortable, and suggested that we leave. He told us we wouldn't be charged for our meal."
The writer of the letter finishes with disbelief that something like this could happen in the country that voted overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage back in May. "This is not the indication, on any level, of acceptance or even tolerance," the letter continued. The whole experience has really shaken the foundations of what I had come to believe post-referendum about my country."
GCN magazine has confirmed that upon receiving the anonymous letter, it contacted the couple by email to point out that they would have a case to bring to the Equality Authority.
The magazine received no reply to this email and received no further contact from the couple, but decided to publish the letter, without a name and address given, anyway.
Some have cast doubt on the authenticity of the letter. Theatre writer Philip McMahon, who co-wrote and appeared in the film Queen Of Ireland, wrote on Twitter: "It's kind of dangerous too, because it creates a Chinese whisper effect that erupts into outrage - without any hard facts."
The Whitefriar Grill, a restaurant in Dublin city centre which offered to "hook up" the couple after the story broke, has also not been contacted by the couple - despite the offer of a gourmet meal with all the trimmings.