Republic of Ireland news

Mary McAleese and family join Dublin Pride parade

Former president Mary McAleese, with her husband Martin (second left) and her son Justin (second right) and his husband Fionan (right) during the Pride Parade in Dublin. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association
Rebecca Black

FORMER president Mary McAleese was among tens of thousands of people who took to the streets of Dublin for the city's annual Pride parade.

Her husband Martin, son Justin and his husband Fionan joined her for the culmination of a three-day celebration on Saturday.

It came just weeks after the Irish government publicly apologised to men who were convicted under old laws which outlawed intimate homosexual relations.

Government Buildings was illuminated in the Pride rainbow colours at the weekend.

Children's minister Katherine Zappone attended the march, which for the first time included members of the Defence Forces taking part in uniform.

In an online message, health minister Simon Harris said: "Happy Pride everyone! Have a great day celebrating equality, inclusiveness and love" along with hashtags including "loveislove," "dublinpride" and "equality".

This year's theme was 'We Are Family', a reference to the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland next month for the Catholic Church's World Meeting of Families.

Among those taking part were LGBT activists protesting against the pontiff's visit.

On Friday Mrs McAleese described the Catholic church’s teaching on homosexuality as "evil", claiming it "conduces to homophobia".

Participants also called for same-sex marriage to be introduced in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the parade, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said: "Change is coming and make no mistake the north is next."

Pride is now the second biggest festival in the Republic after St Patrick's Day.

People take part in the Pride Parade in Dublin. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association

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Republic of Ireland news