FORMER minister Pat Carey has received an outpouring of support since he came out as a gay man last week, he has said.
The ex-Fianna Fail TD for Dublin North West revealed his sexuality publicly for the first time, saying more needed to be done to ensure that the upcoming marriage equality referendum gets a yes result.
Since then Mr Carey (67), who has a partner called Wai, has spoken to former President Mary McAleese and has been approached by people in his local community.
He said that he went to mass yesterday and was nervous about going up for Communion.
"What I really didn't want was to embarrass anybody. But certainly this morning was like every other Sunday morning," he said.
"I was coming out of Mass ... when a woman who is in her older years touched me on the elbow and whispered to me that what you said made an awful difference to a lot of people," Mr Carey said.
Mr Carey told the Irish Examiner that he had concern for older gay people living in rural areas.
Mr Carey, a former school teacher who was Minister for Community, Equality and Gaelteacht Affairs in Brian Cowen's government, first came out to friends and family four years ago. "Doing it much more publicly was something I was a bit nervous about," he said.