“The Proclamation of Independencesaid that everyone should be treated equally though, and now we are seeing this ourselves at last” Michael Murphy.
Castlebar broadcaster to tie the knot
Well-known Castlebar native Michael Murphy will marry his partner, Terry O’Sullivan, in a civil ceremony in Dublin today (Tuesday). The couple have been together for 26 years and Michael Murphy will be among the first Mayo people to marry a same-sex partner since legislation came in on January 1 this year removing the need for a court exemption for such marriages.
Mr Murphy was a familiar face on RTÉ television for some years as a newsreader and continues to work on RTÉ Radio in tandem with working as a psychoanalyst at his Dublin-based practice. He admits that the ceremony is not to strengthen any already strong emotional ties – 26 years together speaks for itself – but for more practical concerns.
“Terry is very quick to say that it is not a wedding. If he meets someone he will say jokingly ‘you are cordially invited to not-a-wedding’,” Mr Murphy told The Mayo News.
“With regard to pensions, tax, next-of-kin if one of us is in hospital, inheritance, wills and that kind of thing, this legislation is more useful.”
The couple were together before 1993, when homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland, and throughout the intervening 18 years between then and the same-sex partnership legislation. Mr Murphy admits that they just got on with things. However, he greatly welcome the freedom the current legislation affords them.
“The lack of legislation before now wasn’t really a problem, you just got used to it. The Proclamation of Independence said that everyone should be treated equally though, and now we are seeing this ourselves at last,” he said.
Initially the couple planned a low-key affair with no formal reception after the ceremony, which will take place at the Civil Registration Office on Lower Grand Canal Street, but they were persuaded into hosting a reception by close friends. Well-wishes have flowed since Michael and Terry spoke on the John Murray Show on Radio 1 last week about their upcoming day.
“There are about 60 people going to the reception, my brothers will be coming up from Castlebar. Unfortunately, my mother won’t be well enough to make it, but she’s doing okay all the same. We’ve had an amazing groundswell of support, emails and cards. There has been an enormous fund of goodwill towards us, especially since people heard myself and Terry on the John Murray Show.
“But, just a quirky story to illustrate how it might be difficult to comprehend for some. I have elderly relations in Dublin who come over to us for Sunday dinner about once a fortnight, and I told them that the Civil Partnership was coming up and that they were more than welcome to come along. Next there was this frozen silence, and it was obvious they weren’t comfortable with it. It was a certain prejudice, but they are of a generation that simply can’t comprehend.”
Michael Murphy is a native of the Mall in Castlebar. His brothers Fintan and Tom still reside in the town, while another brother, John, lives in Dublin. His brother Kieran died from cancer at the age of 42, and Michael wrote about his own battle with cancer in his forthright book ‘At Five in the Afternoon’, which was released in 2010. His next book, ‘The House of Pure Being’, is expected out in late autumn.