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Friday 26 May 2017

Gay priest praises 'gracious and hospitable' Michael D

President Higgins with the newly-weds at Aras an Uachtarain
President Higgins with the newly-weds at Aras an Uachtarain

A meeting between President Michael D Higgins and a couple of gay newly-weds has been described as "very moving and very emotional".

Catholic priest Fr Bernard Lynch and Billy Desmond met Mr Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain.

Afterwards, Fr Lynch said: "President Higgins could not have been more welcoming. He put his arms around us when we first met."

Fr Lynch, from Co Clare, and long-term partner Mr Desmond, from Co Cork, were married last week at the Armada Hotel in west Clare, the county's first wedding between two gay men.

In response to a personal invitation from the President, they travelled to Dublin and had a private hour-long meeting with Mr Higgins.

Ennobling

"For us, the meeting with President Higgins was extraordinarily ennobling in what is a very dark world at the moment," said Fr Lynch (69).

He said the three shared "lots of tea, coffee, cake and biscuits" and spoke about social justice and current affairs.

The couple split their time between London and Lahinch.

"It was the most powerful homecoming Billy and I have ever had in our lives. President Higgins couldn't have been more gracious and hospitable," said Fr Lynch.

He added that he was part of the first LGBT delegation to the Aras to meet with then-president Mary Robinson in the early 1990s.

"That was mind-blowing, but this topped it off," he said.

"We have been brought in from the cold into the hearth of the nation by a man of such heart."

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