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Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Donegal mass goers walk out after priest criticises footballer's stance on gay marriage

The GAA star says the priest is entitled to his opinion but his name shouldn’t have been mentioned.

A DONEGAL FOOTBALLER was criticised by a priest in mass over the weekend after he backed a Yes vote for the upcoming same sex marriage referendum.

Eamon McGee told that he tried to make contact with Father John Britto today after hearing about his comments but he wasn’t able to.

Speaking about backing the Yes vote, McGee said, “I wasn’t representing my club or Donegal, I was there as someone who has an interest in equality.”

Policy director with the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network Tiernan Brady sent a tweet when McGee launched the Pledge to Vote campaign last month.

The footballer said a Catholic organisation ‘had a pop’ at him on Twitter saying he ‘shouldn’t have an opinion on it because of the GAA’.

The Donegal Daily spoke to a woman who said she walked out of the mass with a number of people in protest at the comments made by Father Britto in Annagry on Saturday night.

McGee said, “I think it’s fantastic that people are standing up and saying ‘listen we’re not going to listen to this’ but it is in the Catholic teachings.

“I wasn’t there myself but in fairness to the priest he’s a good man and he’s from the local parish.

People have to realise it’s in the teachings so don’t shot the messenger. I think it’s unfair to put a negative light on him.

However, he also said ‘my name probably shouldn’t have been mentioned’.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference released a statement on the referendum today, saying, “Marriage is of fundamental importance for children, mothers and fathers, and society – all of us need to reflect deeply before changing it.

We come to this debate believing that the union of a man and a woman in marriage, open to the procreation of children, is a gift from God who created us ‘male and female’.

“We are concerned that, should the amendment be passed, it will become increasingly difficult to speak any longer in public about marriage as being between a man and a woman.  What will we be expected to teach children in school about marriage?”

Read: Bishop ‘regrets any hurt caused’ by saying gay couples with children are not parents>

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