1 December 2015
Statement by Joe Costello TD
Dublin Central Labour TD and former Minister for Trade and Development in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Joe Costello, has welcomed Foreign Policy magazine naming Eamon Gilmore as one of the Top 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015.
Deputy Costello commented: “I would like to congratulate Eamon Gilmore on being selected by Foreign Policy as one of its Top 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015. From my time serving as a Junior Minister in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when Eamon Gilmore was Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I can attest to his strong internationalist outlook and his commitment to advancing peace and justice across the world. Despite the deep recession in Ireland, as Leader of the Labour Party, Eamon was determined to maintain Ireland's high level of contribution to tackling hunger and disease in the poorest regions of the world.
"Eamon Gilmore has been a passionate and tireless campaigner for LGBT rights both at home and overseas. He played a key role in making marriage equality a reality in Ireland by ensuring a referendum was put to the people on granting every citizen the right to marry.
“The inclusion of Eamon Gilmore as one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Leading Global Thinkers in 2015 is a fitting endorsement of the role Eamon has played and will continue to play at an international level.”
1 December 2015
Eamon Gilmore for Championing Gay Marriage in a Catholic Bastion
In May, Ireland's electorate said yes to same-sex marriage, making the Catholic-majority country the first state to sanction the practice through popular vote. Eamon Gilmore was one of the referendum's key backers. In 2011, the then-Labour leader pushed for a vote as a policy goal, even though the ruling Fine Gael party - which Labour had joined in a coalition and which had never taken a stance on gay marriage was "chilly" on the matter, according to the Irish Times. In 2012, Gilmore became the most senior Irish official to publicly support marriage equality and helped ensure that the issue would go before the Constitutional Convention, a group of citizens and parliamentarians who deliberate government reform. it voted overwhelmingly to recommend popular poll.
Speaking to reporters after this year's referendum, Gilmore heralded a "day of liberation" for LGBT people. He also described Ireland's decision as "a powerful statement to the rest of the world."
1 October 2015
Statement by HRVP Federica Mogherini
The High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has informed the Council and the European Parliament of the decision to appoint Mr Eamon Gilmore as EU Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia. Mr Gilmore is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ireland.
The HRVP informed the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of her intention to appoint Mr Gilmore during a recent meeting in the margins of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, in which she congratulated him on the agreement reached by the parties on 23 September concerning the creation of a special jurisdiction for peace and the announcement of a six-month timeline for concluding negotiations.
"Mr Gilmore's direct involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process makes him an ideal envoy. It is a signal to the Colombians that the EU is standing by their efforts to put an end to one of the longest running and most murderous conflicts in the world. This is a unique opportunity that must not be lost", Ms Mogherini said.
Mr Gilmore's mission will be to relate to all parties in Colombia and to facilitate the coordination of EU action and initiatives in support of peace, thus contributing to the smooth implementation of the future peace agreement for the benefit of all parts of Colombian society. He will also liaise closely with other key actors at the regional and international level.
Mr Gilmore will take up his duties as soon as the relevant internal and inter-institutional procedures have been completed.
29 May 2015
Eamon Gilmore - Huffington Post
Ireland is now the only country in the world to have chosen to permit same-sex marriage, by popular vote.
The recent Irish referendum was a national act of inclusion and liberation for gay and lesbian people. But it was also a powerful statement to the rest of the world from a country, once considered to be among the most socially conservative.
The decision by the Irish people will encourage LGBT people in all those countries where they are still denied the right to marry. And it will give hope and comfort to those in places where homosexuals are persecuted and denied their basic human rights. Ireland's vote for equal marriage cries "halt" to those jurisdictions which are still pressing ahead with laws to discriminate.
Ireland now has the moral authority, and a unique mandate from its people, to speak out for the rights of the LGBT community.
Our small country already has a proud track record and reputation, as an advocate and defender of human rights. I saw this first hand when as Foreign Minister I led the successful campaign for Ireland's election to the UN Human Rights Council.
Three years ago, as Deputy Prime Minister and as Leader of the Irish Labour Party, I said:
It is not the role of the State to pass judgement on who a person falls in love with, or who they want to spend their life with. That is why, one of the reforms for consideration by the Constitutional Convention is a provision for same-sex marriage. I believe in gay marriage. The right of gay couples to marry, is quite simply, the civil rights issue of this generation, and in my opinion, its time has come.
The vote on May 22nd, and the happiness and enthusiasm it evoked, shows that the vast majority of Irish citizens agree. We now have a duty to share this liberation with others, to advocate for the decriminalization of homosexual acts, for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation, and for LGBT people to enjoy the freedom to love, to form lasting relationships and to marry.
Throughout the referendum campaign we heard compelling personal stories, like that of former President Mary McAleese, who urged a "Yes" vote for her son, Justin. I met grandparents, who had lived through decades of social conservatism, and who were voting yes so that every member of their extended family would be treated equally.
As a country, we can now say to LGBT people everywhere to keep up their courage, and that even in the most unlikely places, their freedom will come.
We can tell them our own story of a country, where until a mere 22 years ago, homosexual acts were criminalized, and now the people have democratically decided to allow same-sex marriage.
Ireland did not suddenly change on the day of the referendum. The referendum gave the people the opportunity to express the change that had already taken place, and that had been coming gradually for decades.
All my life, I have worked for that social change. The Ireland, in which I grew up, in the '60s and '70s, was deeply conservative and dominated by the social teaching of the Catholic Church. Women were second class citizens, and denied equal pay and equal participation in the work-force until the mid-70s. Contraception was illegal, and condoms were not generally available until the early '90s. Divorce was prohibited by the constitution until 1996. Books and films, which made any mention of sex, were banned by the Censor's Office. Psychiatric hospitals were full of perfectly sane people, who were committed because they refused to conform.
Change came, because television provided a platform for public debate which aired the hidden issues; membership of the European Union opened our cultural horizons; an education revolution opened minds; and the Women's Movement overcame the church's dogmatic insistence on controlling their sex lives and their relationships.
That slow, sometimes painful process of change led to the celebratory scenes at Dublin Castle when the result was announced, as the Irish tricolor danced with the Rainbow flag, and thousands of same sex couples loudly sang the national anthem to freely and proudly proclaim their love and their patriotism.
It was a moment I will never forget. I thought of the great Irish writer, Oscar Wilde, who wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, while imprisoned for same-sex love. I wondered if this small country of WB Yeats and James Joyce can make this transition, then the great land of Gogol; Tolstoy and Sholokhov can do the same.
This is no longer the civil rights issue for today's generation in Ireland. It is a Human Rights issue for the whole world.