The French government is to make TV3 Political Editor, Ursula Halligan a chevalier of its National Order of Merit in recognition of her role during the marriage equality referendum in 2015.
A week before the referendum, Halligan, came out via a column in the Irish Times. She was 54 at the time and wrote about the longterm trauma of hiding her sexuality, and its affect on her mental health.
Writing about being in an emotional prison from the age of 17, Halligan said she repressed an “essential part of my humanity, the expression of my deepest self; my instinct to love.”
She appealed to Catholic Ireland to vote Yes, adding: “As a person of faith and a Catholic, I believe a Yes vote is the most Christian thing to do. I believe the glory of God is the human being fully alive and that this includes people who are gay.”
The column brought Halligan centre stage during the referendum, and she was awarded at Ireland’s annual LGBT Awards, The GALAS in 2016 for the essential role she played in securing marriage equality.
Jean-Pierre Thébault, the French ambassador, will present Halligan with a blue-ribboned medal at a ceremony in his Dublin residence next month. His spokesman said the accolade is to “recognise her role in the referendum and her strong contacts with the embassy”.