Was Irish hero Michael Collins gay?

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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.


SP

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4 thoughts on “Was Irish hero Michael Collins gay?

  1. David, as ever, is talking bollix, there is even less evidence to back this claim than the one about Casement.
    The Rising (despite neo-West Brit whinging – by David among others) was a representative matter.
    The Irish Volunteers, the trade union (rather than ‘socialist’ – they were more syndicalist) Citizen Army, and the anything-but-socialist Hibernian Rifles, could hardly have been more representative of their society.
    And there were definitely Ulster Prods in the Volunteers and ICA.

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  2. About Casement, I was at a showing, about 10 / 12 years ago, of some videos by Kenneth Griffith in Belfast’s Casement Park (it is the Antrim County h. q. of the GAA [Gaelic Athletic Association… I’m afraid…not the Other One].
    I was with PA Maglochlainn Prez of NIGRA. I realised, after a [short] while that I was the only person in the room (the social club element of the complex) who didn’t assume that Casement was queer.
    I don’t because there is a haul of circumstantial evidence. And there’s the fact that Imperial Britain, in a jam in 1916 had to find extra-political reason for executing the only person involved in the Easter Rising who wasn’t totally unknown to the public (even inside Ireland).

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  3. Sorry to bang on about Collins – he wasn’t quite an ‘unknown’ in 1916. He lived in London for ten years prior to the Rising, and had been ‘taken up’ by Bernard Shaw and some similar circles. Collins was quite a substantial in the ‘cultural’ end of Irish affairs in London.

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