Sorry For Your Loss


Professor Ciarán Ó Coigligh

Following the death of Dr Ann Louise Gilligan, wife of Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone:

May the Lord have mercy on the soul of my late good friend and former colleague of almost forty years, Anne Louise Gilligan, and may she rest in peace. It was a privilege to work with Anne Louise and our mutual friend Katherine Zappone over the years on many projects supportive of poor urban and rural students.

I valued Ann Louise’s and Katherine’s friendship all the more because it did not prevent me giving expression to the fact that same-sex attraction is a disorder that can be overcome and affected individuals restored to orderly sexual orientation; that people are robbed of their human dignity by being defined solely in terms of sexual attraction and grouped under the hideous acronym LGBT; and that a (sexual) relationship between two women or between two men cannot be conjugal, cannot be consumated, and cannot constitute marriage.

I hope that these views are respected and not disparaged in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences. I would be happy to deliver a lecture which would present a Catholic Christian response to same-sex attraction, informed by the latest research in the area. It was a great sadness to me when Anne Louise told me that she had outgrown her Christian Faith.

Please God, she may have regained her belief and returned to the practice of the Faith. It is an even greater sadness to me that our mutual friend Katherine gives ever-more strident voice to calls for the liberalisation of legislation allowing the murder of an infant in the womb as a response to threatened suicide.

The death of a relative or close friend is often a time to assess one’s life’s achievements, beliefs and practices. It is my prayer that Katherine will use this time of sadness to reassess her espousal of a number of causes which besmirch a record of solicitude for others and particularly the poor.

I am, with every good wish,

Ciarán Ó Coigligh, survivor of same sex abuse.

Text of an e-mail sent to all Dublin City University (DCU) academic staff yesterday from Professor Ciarán Ó Coigligh, President of Newman College, Dublin and formerly of the Irish Departments in NUI Galway, NUI Dublin and Saint Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, DCU.

Thanks Philip

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116 thoughts on “Sorry For Your Loss

  1. Daisy Chainsaw

    Ugly, dark hearted religious and homophobic bigotry dressed up as handwringing piety. I hope his wee scalds him for the rest of his very long, miserable life.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      Ahhhhh, he’s not well. The way he signs off the letter explains why. I know it’s an awful letter but I feel sad for the poor man. He’s probably never known love like Katherine and Ann Louise had. He needs help, not sore weewees.

      1. Rob Hunt

        Do you not think it’s incredibly likely that he was a victim of this abuse within the church and has decided to cast blame at the homosexual community rather than the church?

        1. Shanti

          If that were the case, as a survivor of opposite sex abuse, should I blame all men or should I blame the ones responsible?

    2. Junkface

      I can’t believe that statement was real? Religious extremists are cancer on any society.

    1. Declan

      Cruel to say it but ya. I mean he was obviously damaged by abuse (as per his email) but to say something like that signifies a complete lack of social awareness.

      Even if he fully believes in being gay is a “disorder” type stuff, to say it while someone is grieving and while he is signify his sadness at the loss is just mind blowing.

      1. Fgshill

        It’s not at all cruel to say it. The man is clearly mentally ill and may well be having an acute episode or nervous breakdown.

    1. Aron

      He’s an enthusiastic supporter of the DUP because of their “pro-life” stance and is vocally thrilled at their recent good fortune in Westminster

  2. Otis Blue

    Why would this creeping Jesus feel the need to share his warped perspectives with DCU academic staff?

    Did he used to be somebody?

    1. newsjustin

      A friend of mine working in another large Irish university told me that their internal staff email system is used as a platform for members of staff”s beliefs, philosophical arguments, political debates, etc, etc. Says it’s bizarre. Full blown debates about abortion, etc between a few hot-heads with ALL of the thousands of staff copied in.

      1. ExDCU

        Yep – I worked at DCU and was always amazed by the lax email system which permitted people to email the entire staff with whatever was on their minds (and did so accidentally on a few memorable occasions). I was not a permanent member of staff so never raised how crazy I thought it was.

  3. Joxer

    this has got to be a pisstake. is the man a simpleton?

    and whats with the ‘same sex abuse’? kind of signalling his homophobia there.

  4. Brother Barnabas

    And he needs to sort out that hair – obviously really annoyed off God at some point in his life (or in a previous life)

  5. Kevin

    How can you believe this about someone and claim to value their friendship?
    I might be reading too much into it but I am guessing that since he made a point of distinguishing that the abuse he suffered was ‘same-sex’ that it is somehow worse.
    I do believe that people have the right to their own opinion. But too many people believe that this means that you have the right to have your opinion respected and accepted. It doesn’t

  6. Jake38

    The fact that the NUI is riddled with this kind of person never seems to merit any comment.

      1. Steve

        The fact that this was sent to all staff should be a disciplinary offence. If I was to send that in my job I’d be fired – and rightly so.

        1. newsjustin

          See my comment above. Apparently “debates” about all and sundry are regularly shared with ALL university staff in institutions.

          “Because people MUST know my thoughts on this! !”

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Jake, we seldom agree, but I too find it worrying that all of our third level institutes seem to be infested with nutters and crackpots – albeit cunning ones who “know their rights” – i. e. they can’t be sacked.

  7. nellyb

    Fupping hell… some raw ptsd :-(
    It’s like he can’t stop talking to abuser in his head.
    Felt voyeuristic reading it.
    Has his family give up on him?

    1. phil

      I had to read it twice , Im still not sure I understand the tone …

      I think they need more public funding

  8. Scundered

    If you valued her friendship you wouldn’t feel the need to criticise her when she is beyond being able to respond.

    1. newsjustin


      Bad timing there Ciaran…the woman may have welcomed robust debate with you when she was alive. But you can drop it now.

      1. AnAccountant

        I’m not sure she would have welcomed “robust debate” with someone about the legitimacy of her identity, to be honest. I’m not sure anyone would.

        1. newsjustin

          I’m just taking him at his word, I think…he seems to suggest that they were well acquainted and spoke often. Maybe it was one sided!

          1. AnAccountant

            Probably. ‘The identity you’re so proud of is immoral and wrong according to my personal standards. What say you?’ Can you imagine many people “welcoming” that?

          2. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            I’d say Ann Louise was a very classy lady who probably would have been very kind and understanding towards him, which he mistook for friendship.

  9. kellma

    Ah, would you ever F off Ciaran. He is an abuse survivor and who knows what havoc that has wreaked on his mental health? However, my soon to be ex MIL is not an abuse survivor and would regularly come out with guff like this. She is just a women of limited intelligence who is happy to let the church tell her what she needs to do. The mantra from her that sticks in my mind is ” it is not a sin to love someone but it is the practicing that is wrong in the eyes of God”. My eyeballs used to hurt with the amount of eyes to heavens I would be throwing around her….

    1. Barry the Hatchet

      Is he a survivor of child abuse though? “Survivor of same sex abuse” is a really weird phrase. Does he just mean that he had some gay relationships (which robbed him of his human dignity??) and now he’s managed to pray them away?

  10. Lord Snowflakee

    The responses above from most of the people to this man’s letter are terrible, lacking in empathy or understanding, and dripping in the sort of bigoted intolerance that the writers themselves claim to excoriate in the subject of their vicious attacks.

  11. milo

    Whereas I dont find the gentlemans views very generous or enlightened, he is of course entitled to have them. However, as is often the case on here, the word bigot gets thrown around lightly again in this case. I wonder do BS readers actually know the meaning of the word bigot and how do they see their own role in bigotry.

    The definition is “A person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions’. It would only take a cursory glance at the comment section on here to show the ugly bigotry that passes for comment every day. And then the +1 and yelps of support. If people know they are bigots, and dont care that they are (EDL, KKK, Sectarion Unionists etc) fair enough, but if people actually don’t realise they are being bigoted, then unconscious damage can be done in the name of virtue.

    I suspect people on here dont go out intending to be bigots, but they behave that way every day. Its quite dangerous to see the intolerance of views and the circle jerk of support they receive.

    i would welcome any comments on this, but I suspect it will be the usual ad hominen, what aboutery and continued bigotry.

    1. AnAccountant

      Sorry but calling out bigotry doesn’t make one a bigot. You don’t get to spout bigoted views about other human beings and not expect consequences. You are not a victim because someone called you a bigot. That is quite a childish attitude, actually.

    2. milo

      I am referring to the every day comments on here. If one is pro-life, christian or a gaeilgóir for example, one can expect to be ridiculed, mocked, attacked and be treated with extreme intolerance by people who purport to be against that kind of thing. And that is not just tolerated here, its actually applauded. The vitriol and raw hatred in this thread alone is an example. Is this what an echo chamber looks like? Is this what inclusion and diversity looks like? Is this what empathy looks like? Or just a baying mob full of its own self righteousness and moral superiority?

      1. Listrade

        Actually Milo, the anger is directed at the insensitive letter and the tone of the letter from someone who purports to be a friend.

        It’s fine to be pro-life and or Christian or on this case homophobic (before you reach for the dictionary again, someone who advocates curing homosexuality is a homophobe). But you can’t expect compassion and empathy when you aren’t expressing them yourself. That is where the anger comes from.

        Where is the compassion above? Where is the empathy? So why the fupp does he deserve it from the comments?

        If people want respect for expressing unpopular opinions, then be respectful in how you express them. Show compassion and empathy if you want to receive the same.

        You’re entitled to an opinion, you’re not entitled to respect when you advocate the torture of your “friends”.

        1. Lord Snowflakee

          He’s not must talking about the letter specifically Listrade, as you are well aware, he’s talking about the hysterical and intolerant reaction it’s provoked from people who self-profess to be this man’s moral superior.

          1. Listrade

            What is there to be tolerant of? The guy thinks his “friends” had a disease that could be cured through therapy that has been classed as torture?

            And wrote a letter on the day she died to repeat that.

            Why is it we only ever want tolerance from the other side?

          2. Lord Snowflakee

            It’s about having respect for other people’s point of view even if you find theor opinion abhorrent. About meeting people half way and trying to persuade rather than belittle.
            Good manners, basically… But perhaps you lack the maturity to understand this?

          3. Listrade

            No not isn’t. Good manners has nothing to do with respecting anyone’s views if they are abhorent. Good manners may dictate the manner in which you leave them and their views to sit on their own.

            Where is the half way when someone holds such extreme views? He thinks homosexuality is a disease that can be cured by psychological and physical torture. There is no halfway there.

            Maybe it’s more of a mild virus that can be alleviated with mild flicking on the nose? Is that halfway?

            Why do I have to tolerate his intolerance?

          4. Shanti

            What the actual doodle-doo?
            You should have respect for people’s views even if you find them abhorrent?
            So, like, if they advocate rounding up all the Jews and gassing them, you should respect that, should you?
            No. If someone has abhorrent views then you are doing yourself and the people they express those abhorrent views about a great disservice by not letting it be known how disgusting and wrong you find them, lest they get the impression that their views are accepted and that they should *act* on them.

          5. kellma

            Yes, I am “intolerant” of someone choosing to bleat about their views in public (expect a publish response deary) and to do so on the day that that person has lost their best friend and partner. Becuase, such a person is an ar*e and that is my view. Views beget views etc.

          6. Lord Snowflakee

            There’s no half way? That’s your argument is it? Good luck with your miserable existence in this appallingly oppressive democracy.

            Rather than demonise your interlocutor why not gently reason with him instead?

            I notice a lot of folks on here saying he must be mentally ill, ah god help him, isn’t that awful and generally wringing their hands. How about just saying I just think you’re wrong Ciarán but I sympathise with you on the loss of this obviously dear friend? I mean wtf?!! Seriously.

          7. Listrade

            Ha ha. Ok lord snowflake, why not practise what you preach and have tolerance for my opinion?

            How about “I disagree Listrade, have you seen it from this perspective?”

            Nope, just “good luck with your miserable existence.”

            That’s how we know this is just nonsense you preach, because you don’t extend the courtesies you cry about to others.

          8. Milo

            “That’s how we know this is just nonsense you preach, because you don’t extend the courtesies you cry about to others”

            Exactly. When people apply their accusations of bigotry selectively, we know it’s nonsense.

          9. Lord Snowflakee

            That’s rather selective editing there Listrade.

            I know how you love to cut and paste so I’ve done some of my own.

            “Good luck with your miserable existence in this appallingly oppressive democracy” was the full text of what I wrote. In other words by highlighting your dystopian and authoritarian views of what type of free speech you prefer to hear I was making light of the fact that life must be inherently miserable for you when forced to consider the alternative viewpoints of others from time to time.

            By cherry picking the first part of the sentence you’re quoting me out of context in a poorly judged attempt to discredit the essential substance of my and Milo’s arguments. For clarity these are that so-called liberals and bien-pensants who decry the narrow-mindedness of others are often themselves the most tyrannical.

          10. Nigel

            ‘For clarity these are that so-called liberals and bien-pensants who decry the narrow-mindedness of others are often themselves the most tyrannical.’

            Only when you’ve been bruised in the ugly cut-throat scramble of an internet comment-section argument for defending a homophobe can you truly know the evil of tyranny.

      2. AnAccountant

        “Vitriol and hatred” Sorry, but that’s a bit hysterical. This is beginning to sound like ‘woah is me’. You are not a victim because someone called you a name over your desire to subjugate women or oppress Muslims or gays. Calling someone a name because they want to oppress human beings for their identity does not make you as bad as the person who wants to oppress human beings. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and realise why polite society rejects your opinions.

        1. milo

          I am referring to the everyday bigotry on here, but I note you refuse to discuss that. Instead you aim your hate at an obviously disturbed man in order to make you look compassionate and righteous. You give truth to my observations.

          1. AnAccountant

            “you aim your hate”

            There you go getting hysterical again. Confronting bigotry is not bigotry. That is just a story bigots tell themselves because they don’t have any rational arguments or their position so they go for the moral high ground, except bigots don’t have any moral high ground.

          2. milo

            Ad hominem as per usual. When you feel like addressing the issues I raised get back to me.

          3. AnAccountant

            I did. You decided to repeat the same myopic tantrum about how it’s actually YOU that’s a victim of your bigotry.

    3. Listrade

      You got it on a technicality. He may not be a bigot, but someone who supports (as per his letter) “curing” homosexuality pushes into the intolerance spectrum.

      The US 9th Circuit Court had this to say on “curing”

      “human rights laws cannot be sidestepped by simply couching actions that torture mentally or physically in benevolent terms such as ‘curing’ or ‘treating’ the victims”

      Of course, he was a good friend to them and tolerant. He had such compassion and love for them, he was in favour of torturing them to cure them. Only a true friend would go to such lengths.

      So maybe not technically a bigot, just an abhorent excuse for a human.

      Ad hominem response wrapped up in something he actually said.

      1. milo

        He may well be a bigot and if he is then the lynch mob on here wont be long telling him. However, I am more interested in why the mob don’t call out other forms of bigotry so prevalent on here. I notice you don’t address that. At the very least it makes them hypocritical, at most just ordinary bigots supporting bigotry. Tolerating, enabling, supporting and normalising bigotry can have huge consequences, and none of them good.

        1. Listrade

          I’m responding to the points on this thread about this individual and that I think that anger is justified in this case.

          I’ll happily comment on other cases where there are specofic examples and not generalities.

          1. milo

            You have ignored it three times now and argued points that no one made. Thats ok. Lord Snowflake has pointed out your avoidance so we can leave it there. The fact that you see it every day and ignore it says volumes about you and others on here.

          2. Listrade

            Ignored what? What bigotry am I ignoring? You mention generally pro-life and religion. But no examples. The only actual example was this letter. You said he didn’t meet the definition of bigotry based on this letter, I agreed. But took issue with what he was saying.

            Saying I’m ignoring other points when I’ve asked twice what those other points are. Is it not possible that I might have missed them and I’m genuinely asking because I may not understand the point?

            One good way to win an argument complaint about as hominem attacks on here is to start up your own ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with your point in the context of this letter.

          3. jungleman

            milo, while we are on the topic, where do you stand on gay rights? Also, do you support the anti-abortionists?

            Just so we can get some context on your arguments here.

      2. Lord Snowflakee

        In your opinion.

        And Milo has frankly expressed his.

        Yet I notice you’ve wasted now a good few paragraphs trying to ‘cure’ Milo, the very thing you claim to find abhorrent in the letter writer’s perspective.

        Why not just say, well sorry Ciarán a chara, for your obvious loss, but I don’t agree with your perspective.Why should someone giving an honest opinion on a topic be pilloried and battered because some anonymous online losers don’t agree with that person?

        1. Listrade

          Oh jees.

          I disagree with his point in this context. I’m not trying to cure him.

          Feel free to invest in irony stock

          1. milo

            I am making no point in this context. I have my views on his comments clear. I am referring to another point which I note you are dancing around. Surprised at you listrade, I saw you correctly getting some praise on here for some clear thinking. but i fear the praise has made you go native and now you point at the speck in others eyes while ignoring the mote in your own. Apologies for the late responses. I am in continuous moderation because of my views. A light form of intolerance… but thats ok, I know how these things work.

          2. Listrade

            Milo in your first post you say you welcome comments but suspect they will be ad hominem and whataboutery. Then proceed to counter at any one who disagrees with you with ad hominem and whataboutery.

            How relevant is what light praise or open condemnation (there’s that too) others have had for me other than to score as hominem points?

            Skipping over the issue of the letter to say “but what about the other points” (see below) is whataboutery.

            So I’m not that sure you really do welcome comments or are in a position to criticise.

            I’m happy to debate any issue you have, when you tell me what it is. I’m not dancing around anything, I just don’t know what the other points I’m “avoiding” are.

          3. AnAccountant

            “Apologies for the late responses. I am in continuous moderation because of my views.”
            D’Arcy: Hey, I wasn’t a weirdo. I was in the audio-visual club.
            Homer: Really? Me too! But I got kicked out ’cause of my views on Vietnam. Also, I was stealing projectors.

  12. Pixie Hat

    I think it is very insensitive to publish this at this time and wonder if you would consider removing it?

  13. Murtles

    I’d say Ciaran is getting a great reception around campus today. I’d look into it further but I’m preoccupied with the fact that I brought Ham sandwiches with me for lunch today instead of the Chicken sandwiches which I wanted. I’m hoping an intense prayer session between now and 1pm will change the ham to chicken and restore the orderly orientation of my sammich.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      Do you have a selection of sandwiches made, and you inadvertently took the wrong ones?

      1. bisted

        …you do realise it’s Friday. I once had a teacher who sought (and got) a special dispensation from a bishop because he was flying to the US on a friday and may be offered meat on the flight…

    1. Bob

      This book was published by Padraig O’Snodaigh, father of Aengus O’Snodaigh Sinn Fein TD.

      This nutjob was also supporting the DUP in the latest elections according to his Twitter.

  14. Finian

    This is a dreadfully insensitive thing to write, and for Broadsheet to publish so near to the loss. Either Broadsheet has an editorial position aligned with this view or it is trying to court controversy.

  15. James Nelson

    Shame on him.
    Nothing Christian or “love thy neighbour” about this bigoted man.

  16. Bogdana

    This person does not belong anywhere near any respectable university.
    And he better keep TFO of the nursing school because those birds would hopefully chew him up and spit him out for “letcuring” about his completely unscientific opinions about sexual orientation.

    1. St. John Smythe

      it could mean he was abused as a child by someone of the same sex, he once had sex with someone of the same sex but is now in denial about it and wants to pretend he was pushed into it, or he sexually abused someone of the same sex but survived the trial. its a bit vague.

  17. Deirbhile Ni Bhrolcháin

    I read this thinking it had to be a very bad joke in poor taste. It is like something some of our so-called comedians might have as a skit ( and I speak from experience having watched a ‘comedy’ sketch on child abuse in. Dry bad taste on one of our own wonderful channels ) but even worse… it is no joke.
    It is really really bad taste that anyone would post this just now, let alone someone who is supposedly educated …
    I’m appalled by this.. and am hoping he will be treated not as a comedy act but as one to be ridiculed and made answerable for such a despicable comment ..
    What happened to …
    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone … ?
    Sorry for your loss ?
    More like … I am..personally..
    Sorry for Ciarán Ó Coigligh’s loss of any moral compass, respect or sense of timing !!!

  18. Deirbhile Ni Bhrolcháin

    P.S. My sympathy for being the victim of same sex abuse but if we blamed all heterosexual men for the ones who have abused or raped then where would we be ?

  19. Kenny U-Vox Plank

    Not a great email.
    Not a great email to share here in a cheap attempt to shame some guy we don’t really care about and in the process coarsen the debate and fuel the toxic troll army. Poor show, BS.

  20. Richard

    What a vile twisted person. Seriously disturbed. I’d like to see legal action taken against him if possible.

  21. DCUstaff

    Firstly, it wasn’t just sent to academic staff. Every single staff member with a DCU email address got that email.
    This person was using his old St Pat’s email address ( which for some reason was allowed to remain active after Incorporation. Why he, and any other former staff member, was allowed to keep access to this email needs to be looked at and changed.

    He was well known in St Pat’s for this kind of behaviour. He once took a stanley knife to an exhibition by students called ‘Love is…” He destroyed pictures of mixed race and same sex couples and was caught doing it. Unsurprisingly, nothing was done about him.

    1. Kenny U-Vox Plank

      DCU will always be NIHE – Nearly in Higher Education.

      A by-word in grade inflation, seconded only to Maynooth.

    2. I'm "alright" Jack. Mad Jack is on annual leave.

      He was expressing his free speech rights? How vile

  22. Boyne Shark

    Where do we find these people, do we get ’em normal and twist them into these sort of religious, homophobic egomaniacal, nut jobs with a thing for Irish names – or are they like that to begin with and naturally gravitate to university life. I can have respect for calm, reasoned debate but this is vile, lower than a snakes testicles. Whatever his intentions were, they backfired bigtime. Big time intellectual professor my arse, a 5 year old could have seen that one coming.

  23. Greg O Seachnasaigh

    This has to be a parody.

    No functioning adult could possibly be so crass.

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