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Jerry Buttimer: Enda's kind words to me when I told him I was gay

“He looked at me, and he gave a dig into the chest, and said ‘you’re still the same guy, I’m still mad about you, let’s go do this’.”

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FINE GAEL TD Jerry Buttimer has described coming out to Taoiseach Enda Kenny as an “extraordinary experience”.

Speaking to The Last Word on Today FM, the Cork South-Central deputy said the Taoiseach showed great ‘empathy, support, and affirmation’ – despite Kenny being “a man in his mid-60s from the west of Ireland” who may have been uncomfortable with the situation.

He described the Taoiseach’s immediate reaction to the announcement, made in 2012:

“I sat down with him, explained to him my situation, that I was gay, I was coming out, and I wanted to form a group with Fine Gael.”

He looked at me, and he gave a dig into the chest, and said ‘you’re still the same guy, I’m still mad about you, let’s go do this’.

Buttimer was the first Fine Gael TD to come out.

Last week the TD, as well as Labour deputy John Lyons told the Dáil about homophobic abuse they had experienced.

“I’ve been beaten, spat, chased, harassed and mocked, like Deputy Lyons, because of who I am,” he said.

I was born with a gift given to me and I spent most of my life struggling.”

2012: Coming out was the right thing to do, says Buttimer >

‘Beaten up and spat at’: TDs open-up about homophobic abuse >

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Nicky Ryan

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