McAleese tries to raise son's profile with attacks on the church, says Fine Gael official

Former president Mary McAleese, husband Martin and their son Justin (second left) with his husband Fionan. Photo: Brian Lawless
Former president Mary McAleese, husband Martin and their son Justin (second left) with his husband Fionan. Photo: Brian Lawless
Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, with her husband Martin (second left) and her son Justin (second right) and his husband Fionan (right) at the Pride Parade in Dublin Photo: Brian Lawless / PA Wire
Justin McAleese. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Justin McAleese: standing by remarks about FF during marriage referendum. Photo: David Conachy

Kevin Doyle

One of Fine Gael's most prominent officials has suggested that former President Mary McAleese criticizes the Catholic Church in an attempt to raise her son's profile prior to a general election.

Chairman of the party's national executive party, Gerry O & # 39; Connell, claimed that the outspoken behavior of Ms. McAleese had been politically motivated in recent weeks.

He described her statements as & # 39; twice-daily briefings on behalf of Fianna Fáil in Dublin-Rathdown, where the son of former president Justin hopes to stand in the next election.

O & # 39; Connell, who was a central figure during the Fine Gael leadership contest last year, said the briefings are "as reliable as the Angelus these days for setting your clock".

The comments in a social media post were linked to a news article in which McAleese said she was "terrified" by homosexual priests and nuns who taught children that homosexuality was wrong.

It was beloved & # 39; with a number of Fine Gael figures, including Senators Neale Richmond and Martin Conway, and Dublin City Councilor Ray McAdam, who works closely with the Minister of Finance, Paschal Donohoe.

A Fine Gael spokesperson said they had "no comment" and O'Connell also said that he had nothing to add.

A comment under the Facebook post said it was "bloody irritant", adding that Ms. McAleese was "too busy to take the stand" when the Ferns report on sexual sexual abuse was published in 1998.

"There's nothing like making a point of view if the son is going to run at the next election," said the poster, to which Mr. O'Connell replied, "Too good."

Justin McAleese spent his teenage years growing up in Áras an Uachtaráin.

His mother was president from 1997 to 2011.

He was actively involved in the 2015 marriage equality referendum and has since been appointed Fianna Fáil representative in the constituency where the incumbent TDs are among others as minister of Culture Josepha Madigan and Transport Minister Shane Ross.

In response to the comment from Mr. O & # 39; Connell, he said to the Irish Independent: "Imagine that there are a few people who think it's okay to play small parish bomb politics with issues as serious as LGBT -equality, equality of women and justice for the abused. "

Mrs McAleese has become increasingly critical of the Catholic Church in recent months, which this week gave rise to a backlash by describing the WMOF as a "right-wing rally".

She said the event, which is the reason for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland, with the aim of "gathering people who are motivated to fight against the tide of same-sex marriage, gay marriages, abortion rights, contraception rights".

McAleese refuses to participate in the events organized directly by the WMOF, but will attend a state reception organized on Saturday for the Pope in Dublin Castle.

When asked about her comments yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he & # 39; strong & # 39; believed in the separation of church and state.


"We must have a greater separation from church and state, I also believe in the freedom of religion, it is not for me as Taoiseach to tell any faith what their faith should be.

"I respect the fact that the Catholic Church has its views and has its doctrine.

"That does not necessarily mean that I agree with it."

He added that some of the events that take place on the occasion of the Pope's visit fall outside the WMOF.

"Those very big events such as the [one in] Dublin Castle and the masses in Knock and Phoenix Park are broader than the World Meeting of Families, "said Mr. Varadkar.

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