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Rory Cowan: AIDS, inequality and why he doesn't keep in touch with the Mrs Brown's Boys cast

In an emotional interview, Rory Cowan tells Barry Egan about friends who died of AIDS and others who died by suicide, because of the inequality they suffered as gay men in Ireland - plus leaving 'Mrs Brown's Boys'

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Looking fabulous ... Rory Cowan is making his TV comeback in 'Fair City' after years playing Rory in 'Mrs Brown's Boys'. Photo: Damien Eagers

Looking fabulous ... Rory Cowan is making his TV comeback in 'Fair City' after years playing Rory in 'Mrs Brown's Boys'. Photo: Damien Eagers

Rory with the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys

Rory with the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys

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Looking fabulous ... Rory Cowan is making his TV comeback in 'Fair City' after years playing Rory in 'Mrs Brown's Boys'. Photo: Damien Eagers

Rory Cowan started going to The Hirschfeld Centre - the first lesbian and gay community venue in Ireland - in Temple Bar, when he was in his early twenties. "There would regularly be police in un-marked cars, taking pictures of everyone going in," he says. "There was nobody arrested. But a lot of gay people wouldn't go, because they thought, 'F**k, they'll take my picture'. I didn't give a s**te. But there was that type of intimidation; you just accepted it as being normal. Who could you complain to?" asks Rory, who became rich and famous as Mrs Brown's gay son, Rory, in the phenomenally popular TV series, Mrs Brown's Boys from 2011 to 2017.

The sense of inequality and injustice was further evidenced - tragically it transpired - when a friend of Rory's, Joe who had been in a relationship with another friend of Rory's, for some years, died...

"They had a house and other properties together, all in Joe's name. When Joe died, his partner was entitled to nothing. The night he was due to move out, to go into council accommodation, he took loads of packets of paracetamol and took his own life, because he was legally entitled to nothing, even though he had been with Joe for 28 years. It was dreadful," Rory says, with sadness etched deep in his face, famous for laughing.


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