A Victim Speaks




Irish Times online editor Hugh Linehan is joined by IT columnist and Iona Institute patron Breda O’Brien to discuss the harrowing fallout from the homophobia hoo hah..

Scroll to the 6 minute 40 second mark.

Inside Politics (Irish Times)

Previously: Late De Hate

Leave It Mrs O’Brien

Pic: YouTube

111 thoughts on “A Victim Speaks

    1. Zynks (I One Eye Institute)

      She stopped the crying as soon as the interviewer mentioned that he wasn’t a catholic, she kind on ‘manned up’.

      1. Shanti

        Freedom of speech.
        You can say whatever the hell you like – provided you are willing to stand over it.
        Her arguments are fallacious and therefore irrational by definition – and as a school teacher she really should know that.
        She has an irrational aversion to the idea of gay people being treated as her equal – she even goes off into her scaremongering about baby factories and crocodile tears to appeal to emotion..

        If she really feels these things – fine. But it’s time she examined her feelings to determine whether or not at their root they are homophobic, and under the grounds of logic and reason – they are.

        Like Rory said, perhaps she needs to sit with that for a while and decide whether she is comfortable with holding those views any longer.

        1. Rob

          “You can say whatever the hell you like – provided you are willing to stand over it.”
          Ah I think you will find that was she was doing

          “Her arguments are fallacious and therefore irrational by definition – and as a school teacher she really should know that.
          She has an irrational aversion to the idea of gay people being treated as her equal – she even goes off into her scaremongering about baby factories and crocodile tears to appeal to emotion.”

          Shouldn’t that be prefaced or ended with In my opinion?

          “If she really feels these things – fine.”
          Thats more like it.

          ” But it’s time she examined her feelings to determine whether or not at their root they are homophobic, and under the grounds of logic and reason – they are.”

          That didn’t last long

          Like Rory said, perhaps she needs to sit with that for a while and decide whether she is comfortable with holding those views any longer.

          The gospel according to Rory

          1. Shanti

            I’m sorry Rob, but the definition of irrational is to be void of logic.
            If all of your arguments consist of logical fallacies like the over quota catch of red herring that Breda landed in this interview and in her other published arguments – then it is indeed fallacious and therefore irrational.

            Perhaps you need to learn a little about what does and does not constitute a logical argument.

          2. Rob

            Your response doesn’t contain anything that resembles an argument!, it is commentary. Try again pet. This time make a point.

          3. Shanti

            Do me a favour, learn what a logical fallacy is. Then perhaps you will understand that every argument put forth against marriage equality commits one, and is therefore faulty logic – or “irrational”.
            Which was my original point if you would care to look.
            In that interview there was appeal to pity, appeal to emotion, red herrings to beat the band, the relativist fallacy – and those were the just the ones that jumped out.
            I’m not making an argument, I am critiquing hers. Do try to keep up..

  1. Mani

    That’s not Breda. It’s clearly her mother. Anyone who’s seen her IT photo can attest that Bread is decades younger (no offence to Mrs O’Brien Sr).

  2. Rob

    I agree with her initial statement, If you are against Gay marriage you are told you are homophobic and that is not correct.

      1. Cean

        Also, Rory O’Neill never called her a homophobe because she was against gay marriage. She was called one because she believes gay relationships should be treated less than straight married couples.

    1. Notadoctor

      ‘Being against marriage’ isn’t homophobic necessarily but actively campaigning against it is.

    2. Bob

      But that’s not what’s happening at all. It’s the excuse Iona et al use to deflect attention from the actual issue. They are being called homophobic because they actively campaigning against equal rights for homosexuals.

      They are the ones who have claimed everyone who is against gay marriage is being called homophobic, so that they will appear like victims and those who rightfully call them out on their behavior will appear as being unreasonable.

    3. Antaine

      The desire to deny gay people rights you demand for yourself simply because you view them as “lesser” than you (which those who oppose civil marriage equality incontrovertibly do) is innately homophobic, regardless of which fragile framework of pseudo-logic you cling to to justify your view of yourself as somehow “superior” because you’re “normal”. People of this view also tried to restrict the civil rights of other minorities, such as people of African descent in the USA, Catholics in the north and the black majority in South Africa. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people are normal human beings, equal in every way to those who seek to deny them equality. It is long past time they were welcomed as the necessary and contributory part of our society that they are.

  3. Pedanto

    She keeps saying people don’t think she’s entitled to an opinion. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. She is running into the humdrum experience of being disagreed with, and she needs to grow up about it.

      1. Pedanto

        Awful. She weeps to be associated with the people who kick gay men to death. What about weeping for the men being kicked to death? Or is that another inequality we have to regretfully live with to prevent conveyor-belt Caesarean baby factories from springing up in Gweedore?

  4. Pedanto

    What is the Irish TImes at, giving this witless mammy a platform for her inanities? Who decides to keep commissioning Waters and her and that awful Harding yoke and the rest of them?

    Honestly, is anyone here privy to the decision-making process? Is it because there isn’t anyone better? Are they hoping for controversy? Do they genuinely think these oafs (oaves?) have something important to say? Help us understand. Please.

    1. Mani

      Maybe the editor fingered Jesus while he was passed out drunk at a Christmas party and is doing all this to atone.

      1. Pedanto

        Whence did that fury come?
        From empty tomb or Virgin womb?
        Saint Joseph thought the world would melt
        But liked the way his finger smelt.

        – WB Yeats

  5. Paul Moloney

    Listening to that, I still have no idea if Breda is for or against the law which allows the firing of gay teachers. If she’s against it, she should say so clearly and ask for the repeal of Section 37.

    Breda complains about being silenced, but when she has an unrestricted pulpit she waffles.


    1. Shanti

      Isn’t she a member of Iona?
      They reckon the school should be free to “uphold it’s ethos” (eg, refuse to hire LGBT people) so either she’s with the wrong group or she’s talking out both sides of her mouth..

      As for her waffling about “living by the Christian ethos” me suspects she is suggesting that it’s fine to work in the school if you are gay – provided you remain celibate and don’t “sin”, after all – this is what Pope Francis says about it and she has to listen to him..

  6. Rob

    This IS about children, if it wasn’t then a civil union would suffice for gay couples. When gay marriage becomes legal ( and it will) then adoption for gay couples will have to be legal because you will not be able to discriminate between different marriages. Anyone that says that a gay couple is equal to a hetrosexual couple is just not living in the real world. Anyone that dismisses the role of a mother in a family doesn’t have much regard for motherhood!

    1. Pedanto

      This is why I have been camapigning so long for Mammy Force, a kind of orbiting ICA which would swoop down the moment a mother dies and install a bosomy helpmeet in the boxroom. If men can’t raise children in pairs, they certainly can’t do it alone.

    2. Rep

      You do realise that there is massive legal and tax differences between a civil union and marriage even before one gets to children?

    3. Cean

      Single gay people can already adopt.
      Joint adoption by gay couples will be legal by the end of the year.

      Adoption by gay couples has nothing, not a fecking thing to do with equal marriage.

    4. MT

      Don’t worry some will have two mothers, that might balance out all the wild beasts raised under the watch of two men. Running about the moors covered in phosphorus, mauling heteros to death.

        1. Grouse

          I wish there was some way I could express my appreciation for comments and threads without writing terminally uncool appreciation comments at the end of them.

    5. jus thinkin

      Troll – such an obvious and blatant troll with that last line

      fup off back under your bridge would yeh

    6. Shadow Wifi

      Well, once the birthgiving and breasfeeding stage is over, any adult can do the rest. I am a woman who is managing to raise children, but a lot of it didn’t come naturally. I struggled with routines, and still struggle with the housework side of things, my brain is really not wired that way. I don’t bake many cakes, in fact I never bake cakes, I can’t really sew either. Or knit.

      Kids seem fine, have manners, can hold an intelligent conversation, are healthy, do well enough in school etc. Am I not a proper woman then because I can’t fit into the special place in the home correctly? Oh yeah, I never bothered to get married either. I never really did the dancing at the crossroads either; the trucks and buses kept beeping me.

    7. Shanti

      All the legislation covering gay people adopting as couples and surrogacy is being dealt with separately.
      This is because there are gay people raising kids right now – and our laws discriminate against their families.

      And for the record – with regards denying a mother or even a father, are you saying single parents of either sex should have their kids removed? After all, they’re lacking a parent of the opposite sex..

    8. Stephen

      What about lesbian couples, or is the issue only two gay men raising children? Have you no regard for fatherhood?

  7. Ghoti

    “The oppressed are becoming the oppressors”? Which sounds more like oppression? (1) criticizing a prominent social commentator’s publicly expressed views as “homophobic” (rightly or wrongly), or (2) threatening to use the POWER OF THE STATE in the form of its laws to muzzle any such criticism?

    This woman is utterly without self-awareness.

  8. Gdo

    I have no idea why I just listened to, and got upset by, this woman. There is no point to it. I just need to realise that her views are becomming more and more irrelevant in Ireland. And that makes me happy.

  9. diddy

    This team panti broadsheet vendetta bollix is getting out of hand.. if there is to be a referendum on gay marraige theres going have to be a debate for the YES side.. but equally theres going to have to be a debate for the NO side. This woman is entitled to her views and you as a voter are entitled to disagree without getting personal about it. I dont agree with her but in the works of Voltaire ” I will fight to the death to defend her right to say it”

    1. Daddy's Home

      Yes isn’t it tedious to read the same tired comments again and again on Broadsheet? It’s all so cliquey on here.Like listening to a bunch of gossipy women outside the school yard.

      No questioning, no intelligent debate – all so one-sided when it comes to issues like same sex marriage. And the vilification of individuals for holding certain views makes BS as bad as Iona.

    2. scottser

      yeah, all very well for you and voltaire, but breda o’brien would not give the steam off her p1ss for anyone elses right to free speech but her own. that whole ‘equality takes second place to the common good’ has my inner godwin twitching.

    3. Cean

      I’m am disagreeing with her. Not getting personal but she is wrong on so many things.

      Bear in mind she is the one who said it must terrible to hear you shouldn’t be equal “for the common good”.

      She hears a terrible thing about her and now she’s a victim?

      1. Daddy's Home

        Cean, maybe she isn’t wrong. And did she claim to be a victim by standing up for herself and defending her reputation?

        No one deserves to be vilified the way she is. I say good on Hugh Linehan for allowing her to speak.

        1. Cean

          She’s been vilified now? Yes the victims of homophobia are the homophobes.

          She was never called a homophobe just for her opposition to equal marriage. It’s everything else. Could she even answer if she supports the section that allows religious schools to fire gay teachers?

    4. Zynks (I One Eye Institute)

      I can appreciate why people would take this debate personally when other people are deciding if they (LGBT) have the same rights than others (heteros). My position on the marriage debate, as it was with the termination of pregnancies, is that I have absolutely no right to negate people the power to make a personal decision.

      Furthermore, the current debate could be far better managed if the initial discussion was about who owns the institution of marriage? The church, the state, society, or the individuals entering a marriage? As an ‘institution’, I would agree that it is society. However, its rules should observe the premise that an individual’s rights end where the next one’s starts.

    5. Pedanto

      Of course she’s entitled to disagree, you big eejit. Where is anyone disputing that? Nobody’s getting personal. I haven’t seen a single reference to her looks, her accent, her haircut or anything but her bloody awful views and her bloody awful expression of them.

      You know what Voltaire didn’t say? “I disagree with that woman’s point, but I will defend to the death her right not to be contradicted or lampooned.” You know why he didn’t say it? Because it’s fupping cretinous.

    6. Shadow Wifi

      I think, after that video, that she is a great spokeswoman for the NO side. I want the YES vote to suceed.

    7. Karl Monaghan

      Please point out where broadsheet hasn’t allowed Iona and Breda O’Brien use their own words to express themselves, or where they’ve been censored.

      They hang themselves on their own petards. She cries when she’s pulled up on her views by those she’s actively campaigning to discriminate against. She has every right to express her views just as commenters have every right to point out that she is wrong.

    8. Jane

      Voltaire didn’t say that. Evelyn Beatrice Hall did as a summary of Voltaire’s philosophy.

      Please think of the pedants.

  10. Siobhán

    Oh feck off Breda…. She’s crying there because she’s lost the confidence of her students. Maybe Breda… Some of those students are gay and they now realise that your views mean that you want some of them to have less rights than the others. You are STILL the oppressors and are actively campaigning to remain in that position. Dry your eyes mate.

  11. Clampers Outside!

    The gay marriage bit….

    Breda says “I think there’s an intrinsic link between gay marriage and the whole issue of surrogacy, the whole issue of identity, the whole issue of sperm and egg donation …question of your right to your genetic heritage because we will be saying that, to have, to be reared by your own mother and father is identical to be reared by people whose intention is to be your parent and that you can exclude from the beginning one or other…

    *interviewer interrupts to ask what has this to do with gay marriage as this will be going on anyway*

    She continues… “the fact that people can’t see what gay marriage has to do with parent hood shows that their is now a radical change in the meaning of what marriage is about. While every couple doesn’t have to have children, the institution of marriage arose because of the need to bond parents to their children. Thee reason the state got in the business at all was to protect the rights of children.
    People often use what is to me a deeply offensive analogy, they say that people who are not in favour of gay marriage are equivalent to people who think that black people shouldn’t marry white people.
    But what’s missed in that analogy is the whole thing about laws against inter-racial marriage was about preserving racial purity, because marriage is about having children, and children who would result would be of racially race and destroy the racial supremacists vision of how life should be…”

    *interviewer interupts says that there is a parallel when the church describes homosexuality as being an ‘objective disorder’*

    Breda continues… “the Catholic Church, of which I’m a member, has a huge way to go in how they treat gay people. And I think the language of objective disorder is one that people do not understand. It’s used, it’s used across the board for a whole lot of other things.
    Em, I can say the teaching of the Catholic Church on sexuality is very, very hard to live by whether you are straight or gay. And I don’t think the Catholic Church has done a good job on putting across the idea that asking people to make these kind of sacrifices in their sexual life only makes sense in the context of a God who loves you beyond belief and who wants your happiness.
    And I think that what we are left with is the rules that seem extremely harsh if you don’t have that underlying, that understanding.
    Now, I don’t think that society should have to incorporate Catholic ideas into its legislation I think that the…”

    *interviewer says that that was the position of the Catholic Church*

    Breda continues… “I think it was unhealthy”

    ……..Conversation doesn’t return to gay marriage…….

      1. Pedanto

        Come back to the living room. The signal is full strength, and Mani’s about to do his Jimmy Somerville.

      2. Shanti

        Isn’t she a card carrying member of Iona?
        They’re the ones campaigning for everything she’s claiming they do wrong – I can’t make up my mind whether the fact this woman appears to only open her mouth to change feet is like watching a car crash or the sun come out after a storm like today’s!

  12. Ahjayzis

    Crawl back into your pit O’Brien, we’ve finally hit the point where people who try to drag Ireland back to how it was in the 1950’s are being treated like the regressive, stupid, mean people they are. Enjoy irrelevancy and an ever more terrifying (for you) life.

    1. Shanti

      I wonder where on earth her kids got the impression she was in danger from.. What kind of paranoia goes on in that household?
      I have not seen one person wish harm upon the woman, and nor should they. They just want her to hand the money back to RTE (or an LGBT charity).

  13. chris

    I can’t listen to this. She’s actually crying, seriously??? Surely an IT columnist requires stronger disposition…what does this lady want? She has had some fairly ballsy opinions published, gets publicly spanked because it turns out we have for the most part moved on and completely disagree with her. Now she is weeping? Is this what the Irish Times is about now?

    1. Shanti

      Do you believe those tears are genuine?
      I mean at one point, she starts choking up, the interviewer tries to ask a question but she stops him insistent upon making her point, after a long pause and some ever so discreet sobbing..
      I’m sorry.. I didn’t get any sense of genuine emotion from that display.. Just a bruised ego not used to being questioned.
      For goodness sake – teachers get called worse than that by their students on a regular basis!

  14. Pedanto

    What kind of stuff? Couch it as neutral reminiscence of your schooldays if you’re worried about defamation. It would be great to get an insight from one of her students.

    1. Pedanto

      This (“What kind of stuff?”) was a response to a former pupil of Breda’s who remembered her as widely hated. Lars deleted the post but left the orphaned response mysteriously hanging. Why? Nobody knows.

  15. ahjayzis

    No one engages with your ideas because “Aren’t mammy’s and daddy’s great” is not an argument for why two citizens of a Republic can’t get hitched you daft bint.

    Black people should not receive social welfare because stew always tastes better the next day – don’t call me a racist, that closes down the debate, let’s talk about the STEW!

  16. Neil

    If you physically assault a gay person, you’re very homophobic and if you don’t agree with the notion of gay people marrying, perhaps you’re a little homophobic. Except this woman openly campaigns against it. She uses her column in the IT and her seemingly unfettered access to the airwaves at RTE to promote her anti-gay marriage agenda. So calling a spade a spade, she is a goddamn homophobe. Her crocodile tears won’t fool anybody. Shame on the Irish Times for continuing to provide this woman with such a platform to spread her bigoted views.

  17. Declan

    At the she claims her 15 year old child asked if the family was safe. FFS.. gay bashing has apparently been replaced by bashing those who have accused of homophobia.. Are there gangs of drag queens roaming Ireland. Is there a Provision Panti Army knee capping Gos fearing folk?

    Additionally she states that this was her first invite by the media to express her views since the whole story blew up. Was she not invited on the Saturday show that Colm O’Gorman was on?

    1. Shanti

      Exactly, what kind of paranoia is fostered in that household?
      No one is out for her blood, no one is telling her she can’t write her column and spout all of her ideas, they’re just telling her that they disagree with her views because they are discriminating against gay people simply because they are gay – that’s homophobia..
      And yes, she was given the right to reply, but took cash instead. She’s been silenced so very badly..

  18. lolly

    Curious about the school thing. last year I got into a heated debate with old friends of mine over Breda O’Brien. I think it was around the time Savita died and yer wan was being obnoxious and making false claims about how we have the safest neo-natal units in the country etc. etc. Their two daughters went to Muckross and they said O’Brien was great and brilliant in her talks at the school etc. My friends would be in favour of gay marriage, access to abortion etc. but they felt that I was wrong about O’Brien and that she was misunderstood. (I haven’t talked to them about the current issue yet). anyone here have her in school or listen to her talks in Muckross?

  19. Shanti

    It’s weird. It’s almost as if she’s oblivious to the idea that a large majority have been shown consistently to be in favour of equal marriage, and also that the vast majority of those in favour are heterosexual.
    A lot of the criticism she has received and continues to receive comes from us straighties.. And yes – evidently it is impossible to present a coherent, logical argument against equality – as her and her buddies consistently prove every time they put fingers to keyboard or open their mouths..

    Two more things;
    What was all that nonsense about marriage being invented to protect children? Does she not realise that it was originally a property arrangement?
    And secondly – when the interviewer was asking about contraception (nice one – she was dying to talk about abortion wasn’t she?) but she went off and talked about it being brought in in the 1900s in UK then waffled about France then started talking about how there was a notion that if you were catholic you had nothing of value to say – what is her opinion on contraception? Like the question of firing people based upon their sexuality she was very careful not to answer.. As careful as she was not to talk about Mr Waters.
    Where is he as a matter of interest? Has anyone challenged him on the statement read out in this interview yet?

    1. Shadow Wifi

      Interesting article on the history of marriage here; also the earliest recorded marriages are Mesopotamian.

      1. Shadow Wifi

        I wasn’t going to, but I cannot resist sharing the last paragraph:
        “Gay ‘marriage’ in medieval Europe
        Same-sex unions aren’t a recent invention. Until the 13th century, male-bonding ceremonies were common in churches across the Mediterranean. Apart from the couples’ gender, these events were almost indistinguishable from other marriages of the era. Twelfth-century liturgies for same-sex unions — also known as “spiritual brotherhoods” — included the recital of marriage prayers, the joining of hands at the altar, and a ceremonial kiss. Some historians believe these unions were merely a way to seal alliances and business deals. But Eric Berkowitz, author of Sex and Punishment, says it is “difficult to believe that these rituals did not contemplate erotic contact. In fact, it was the sex between the men involved that later caused same-sex unions to be banned.” That happened in 1306, when the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II declared such ceremonies, along with sorcery and incest, to be unchristian.”

        Wow. Same sex unions blessed by the church! Note that it was the Byzantine church, not the Catholic Church that put a stop to it. I wonder did the RC ever take these kinds of unions out of Canon Law? They could still be legal within Canon Law. Fancy that ….

  20. George Barrows

    The fundamental argument outlined by Breda is that she is concerned with future implications for surrogacy and adoption in relation to the right of marriage for homosexuals. Is this is the case then where does one draw the line from the viewpoint that a gay couple will need a third-person to produce a child?

    If this is her argument, does this mean that she is against women beyond a child bearing age getting married for the future implications regarding adoption and surrogacy? Is this to say that she is against the marriage of those that are unable to reproduce? I would think not. No matter which way you look at, with all the legal action in the world, it would seem that Breda and co. are simply not comfortable with the idea of gay marriage.

    1. Shanti

      And as the interviewer tried to point out, it’s a massive red herring because these families already exist and even a no vote in the referendum won’t change that. She bemoans the lack of discussion about Shatters bill – would she seriously fight to keep the already existing households where the parents are gay in the legal limbo in which they now reside?
      But what about the children??

      Nope.. Only the children on heterosexual families deserve protection apparently..

      And as adoption laws are required under the Geneva Convention to be conducted with the interests of the child held as paramount – then is she saying that she doesn’t trust them to do their jobs?
      The only way a gay couple will be granted adoption is if they are deemed suitable by the board after extensive background checks, it’s almost as though she’s ignoring this fact in order to keep up this nonsense pretence that equal marriage would have some sort of negative impact on society. If anything it would make society more inclusive and dispel this notion that homosexuality is somehow wrong or less deserving for any reason.

  21. Peter

    Using vulnerable students to shield you from peoples disgust with your outdated views is horrifically manipulative.

  22. Tony

    Even Breda knows that she doesn’t have the monopoly on hatemail – the stuff that LGBT groups/campaigners/personalities get is off the scale. She was lightning-quick to sue RTE, but still hasn’t hasn’t sent the hatemail to the Gardaí? Why? Here’s why: the hatemail is worth its weight in gold when building profile as porr, put-upon victim to try and regain *some* public sympathy.

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