Former FF Minister Pat Carey: 'It took more than 65 years to pluck up the courage and confidence to talk about my sexuality'
Former minister Pat Carey has spoken movingly about his decision to come out as a gay man.
Mr Carey today said it took him over 65 years to "pluck up the courage and confidence" to speak about his sexuality.
The ex-TD told a meeting of the Fianna Fáil that he knows many people "uncomfortable" about extending the right of marriage to gay and lesbian people.
But he said he hopes these concerns can be addressed during the campaign.
"The sky hasn't fallen in with any of the measures we've brought in. It won't fall in this time either,"Mr Carey said.
"I honestly believe we will have a gentler, kinder, more tolerant Ireland if we manage to bring in this measure by a decent majority,"he added.
Mr Carey made the remarks at a session on Marriage Equality at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in the RDS.
Read more here: Pat Carey cheered by support for coming-out
Marie Brady, whose son Tiernan is gay, said excluding a portion of society does not fit in with republican values.
She said she is a Christian and mass goer but that a yes vote is a vote for "love and tolerance".
Wexford councillor Malcolm Byrne, who is also gay, said all he and other gay people is the chance to be happy.
"I ask you for your sons and daughters, your cousins and friends. Please on May 22, vote yes,"he said.
Read more here: 'I got a lovely text from Leo when I came out'
Fianna Fáil justice spokesperson Niall Collins, who is the party's Director of Elections, said it is important to ensure the campaign does not become about issues such as surrogacy.
Senator Averil Power spoke about a 92-year-old grandmother who is now lobbying her friends at bingo to vote yes after her grandson came out.
She said a yes vote will send a powerful signal to young people who are gay that they can grow up in a society that sees them as equal.