Michael Collins | Public domain | 14349
Historic Irish republican leader Michael Collins may have been gay, claims Irish Senator and gay rights activist David Norris, who ran unsuccesfully for election to be the president of the Republic of Ireland, in his autobiography ‘A Kick Against the Pricks’.
Mr Collins took part in the Easter Rising before going on to lead the IRA during the War of Independence, and was murdered by a republican rival in 1922 during the Irish civil war that followed its independence.
Mr Norris writes in his autobiography ‘A Kick Against the Pricks’ about an incident where he claims he spoke to an elderly man once who said he had been “one of Mr Collins’ principal boyfriends”.
It is also widely believed that Easter Rising leader Patrick Pearse and gun-runner Roger Casement were both gay. Mr Casement’s diaries were surrounded by controversy for many years.
Mr Norris also claimed that certain republican circles were very uncomfortable about the allegations.
“If Michael Collins was gay or bisexual – so what? Who cares? It shouldn’t matter as it is just a neutral fact. It certainly isn’t a slur, and the vast majority of the Irish people no longer regard it as such.”
A Sinn Fein spokesman dismissed the claim that republicans would be uncomfortable with any key figures being gay.
“Speculating on what was some historical person’s sexuality is the stuff of the tabloid media,”
said a spokesman.
Betterworld Books | 14350
Mr Norris helped set up the Irish Gay Rights Movement in 1974 and also took a case to Europe to overturn the criminalisation of homosexual acts in 1988.