Monday 22 January 2018

Kieran Rose: gay rights champion and city planner

Kieran Rose Picture: Tommy Clancy
Kieran Rose Picture: Tommy Clancy

Kieran Rose has been at the forefront of gay rights campaigns for three decades and is one of the heroes of the campaign that saw homosexuality decriminalised in 1993.

A city planner by profession, Mr Rose (64) co-founded the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) in 1988.

He spoke at the 1993 Gay Pride Day in Dublin thanking senator David Norris for his work in bringing about the change in the law.

A newspaper report quoted him as saying this wasn't inevitable but that it happened "because of the Irish tradition of struggling for civil, political and religious freedom".

Further battles for gay rights would lie ahead, most notably the Marriage Equality referendum in 2015, in which Mr Rose was a key member of the 'Yes Equality' campaign.

Mr Rose has also been outspoken in his career as a senior planner at Dublin City Council.

In 2007, he drafted new standards to increase the minimum size of apartments in the city. Eight years later he publicly criticised former environment minister Alan Kelly's policy of decreasing apartment size regulations, again to increase the supply of affordable housing in the city. He claimed this would "result in a serious reduction in the quality of housing".

Dublin City Council subsequently apologised for Mr Rose's comments saying they were made in "a personal capacity".

Mr Rose later defended his remarks with an opinion piece in the 'Irish Times', saying that in a "functioning democracy" public servants must be able to highlight concerns "in exceptional cases".

Mr Rose was among 30 candidates that ran in last year's Seanad election in the National University of Ireland panel.

His election literature said he had a "proven track-record" delivering change in areas including gay law reform and quality apartment standards.

He pledged that as a senator he would work on improving the supply of affordable housing and repealing the Eighth Amendment among other measures.

He got more than 1,200 votes before being eliminated in the 19th count, losing out to Michael McDowell, Rónán Mullen and Alice-Mary Higgins.

Irish Independent

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