Bernard Lynch

Gay Priest and Husband Set Up LGBT Charity in Clare

A new charity that hopes to support the needs of LGBT people in rural parts of County Clare has been set up by a local gay couple.

 

The charity, called Bronntanas, will be helmed by the newly-married Fr Bernárd Lynch and Billy Desmond (pictured above). At their wedding last Friday the couple asked guests to contribute to the charity rather than give them gifts.

“We’re starting up the charity to further the mental health needs of LGBT people, especially younger people. We want to help them to come to terms with who they are and how to deal with it. That is our goal,” Bernárd Lynch told The Clare Champion.

The couple who divide their time between Spanish Point and London, say they will probably set up offices in the Clare’s main town. “We’ll probably have to go to Ennis to have an office but it’s for people in rural communities who have no one,” said Lynch, who has just resigned as chair of the London Irish LGBT forum.

The Burning Issues 2 survey, published in 2016 by GCN’s publishers the National LGBT Federation, found that more than 85 percent of LGBT people in rural areas do not have enough community supports or services or opportunities to socialise. Respondents to the survey called for the integration of LGBT inclusion within the ministerial brief of the Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht to ensure the needs of LGBT rural people are central to rural policy.

Lynch said that Bronntanas (which in Irish means something given to another voluntarily) could help people in rural areas of Clare to deal with their sexuality in an inclusive manner. He added that he and his husband have been completely accepted by their neighbours in West Clare.

“The people around here were all at our wedding,” he said. “We live between Spanish Point and Lahinch. They are very accepting people. Billy and I have been coming here for more than 20 years and we made no secret whatsoever of who we are. We’ve had nothing but kindness.”

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