GAA star to open 2012 Foyle Pride Festival

GAA star Donal Og Cusack will open this year's Pride festivities. (1008JC9)
GAA star Donal Og Cusack will open this year's Pride festivities. (1008JC9)
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The organisers of Foyle Gay Pride are delighted to announce that this year’s festival will be opened by GAA star Dónal Óg Cusack, Ireland’s only openly gay sportsman, and one of the very few openly gay men playing at the top level of their game.

His brave decision to be open about his sexuality is an inspiration to all, and is a step towards addressing the invisibility of gay men and women in top level sports.

Coming from a small hurling community in Cork, the inspirational goalkeeper has won multiple All Ireland’s and is recognised as one of the leading figures within the Irish Sporting community. In 2009, Dónal Óg Cusack famously came out in his autobiography, ‘Come What May’ an action that was to send ripples through this traditionalist community and brought homosexuality within sport to the forefront of the radio and TV debates across Ireland and beyond.

After an initial reaction of ‘How can we get you fixed?’, his family, friends and the wider GAA community rallied round Dónal Óg and he continues to play and excel at the sport that he loves.

A spokesperson for players rights, Dónal Óg is never afraid of a challenge or to highlight prejudice in whatever form.

He opens Foyle Pride on August 22 at the Void Gallery - with organisers looking forward to him doing so in a city he described as having a remarkable history of civil and human rights agitation. Local Civil Rights activist Eamon McCann will introduce this event from 8pm, with more guest speakers lined up and music by Missus Sippin’ Moonshine and Soak.

The Foyle Pride programme and comic launch takes place this evening, August 10, in Cafe Soul at 7pm. Everyone is welcome. You can pick up a copy of the programme from usual outlets all over the town.

Shá Gillespie, chairperson for Foyle Pride, said the 2012 programme has something for everyone.

“We will have bouncy castles, face painters and other entertainment for the kids on August 25 in Cafe Soul after the parade,” she says.

“The Guildhall will also see great acts on the stage, including Jeannette Hutton and her band, Paddy Nash and the Happy Enchiladas, Mr. Underground, Tillie and Henderson, JoJo Fegan, Noella Hutton, Sharon and Aoife White and lots more.

“The parade will start at the Waterside Train Station at 2pm sharp and will make its way to the Guildhall. It’s going to be a huge explosion of colour, so bring whistles, flags and dress up if you wish! Bring all the family out to experience this fantastic day of celebration for all.”

To get in touch, you can email Shá on: sha682000@yahoo.com or check out the website for more details: www.foylepridefestival.com.