FORMER president Mary Robinson has revealed how her parents were left distressed after she was denounced from the pulpit during Mass.
HER deeply religious parents, Aubrey and Tessa, were upset after a cleric publicly complained about Robinson's fight for family planning rights for Irish woman.
Ms Robinson, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has spoken about how she felt belittled by the Catholic Church after the incident at Ballina Cathedral.
"They left the cathedral. We never had any discussion about it but they were very distressed. The worst of it for me was that my father was looking haggard and my mother had lost some of her sparkle," she recalled.
She has also told her decision to marry a Protestant and her questioning of the Catholic Church caused a strain on her relationship with her parents.
"Nothing could be questioned, everything had to be accepted. We know now something of the break of trust that occurred, which was a huge humiliation for us as a country," she said.
However, at the time, her parents were unable to deal with her questions on the Church.
"Their response was that I should go to Mass every day until I got back to where I was. I realised I was on quite a lonely journey," she explained.
Her parents also initially objected to her marriage to a Protestant, which she did against their wishes. This caused a rift.
"We finally reconciled and they discovered Nick was as nice as I thought he was and still think so after 41 years," she added.
Speaking at the launch of her memoirs Everybody Matters, the country's first female president described how she struggled with her looks as a child.
She said her drive to succeed as a child was as a result of never having felt pretty or had the good looks that her brothers did.
"I really did feel as a child that I needed to be smarter because I wasn't pretty," she told a gathering in her hometown of Ballina.
She revealed how she forced herself to overcome her own shyness by getting involved in debating. However, she added that her parents encouragement left her with a strong belief that she could achieve anything she wanted. "I never had a sense that I could do less than my brothers. My parents were encouraging," she added.