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Dublin: 1°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

'Ireland has an opportunity to send a message to the world' - Donal Óg on Sky News

The former All-Star spoke to Eamonn Holmes.

Former Cork hurling goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack.
Former Cork hurling goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

AHEAD OF TOMORROW’S same-sex marriage referendum, former Cork hurling goalkeeper Donal Óg Cusack was interviewed live this morning on Sky News.

Cusack, a three-time All-Ireland winner who’s now a Sunday Game panellist, was asked about his experiences of life as a gay man in Ireland by presenter Eamonn Holmes.

The 38-year-old Cloyne native is confident of a ‘Yes’ vote being passed this weekend, although he was careful not to get too carried away, referencing some of the surprise results which emerged from the recent general election in the UK.

“The polls are looking as if tomorrow is going to be a pretty historic day,” said Cusack. “Having said that, I think even your own elections lately probably raised some question marks over polls, so I don’t want to sound over-confident.

“But unless the polls are getting it even more wrong than they got it in the UK elections, it looks as if it’s going to be a historic day for the country.

“When I was going to secondary school and playing sport at a pretty high level at school level, it was actually illegal to be gay. It probably shows how far this country has come over the last 20 years or so that we’re on the verge of, in Ireland in 2015, that the people, the citizens of this country, are going to vote and say to people, regardless of your sexual orientation, that it’s okay to be who you are.

“I think Mary McAleese, our Iar-Uachtarán and former President, put it best this week when she said that she dreamt of a republic of equals. And I think that’s, if you like, a rallying call; a republic worth fighting for, a dream worth pursuing.”

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Cusack added: “I believe we’ll look back on this time and people will equate, I suppose, almost a certain savage nature to the way that once upon a time women couldn’t vote in the country.

“We’ve seen all of the other issues and challenges around racism and areas like this, but I think this is, if you like, is one of the great last prejudices of our times.

“Ireland tomorrow has got a really huge opportunity of not alone sending a message out to all of its own citizens, but sending a message out right across the world that the times are a-changing and that they’re changing for the better.”

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Paul Dollery

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