Nenagh native Dermot Ryan addressed a debate on marriage equality at the national conference of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in Melbourne last week.
Dermot told the conference about the Irish experience, and urged the party to work towards achieving marriage equality down under.
Originally from Summerhill, Dermot, son of John and Susan Ryan who ran the successful Half-Door Bar and Restaurant, was a well-known Irish Labour Party activist for many years, and worked for Senator Kathleen O’Meara some years ago. After a number of years working in public relations roles in Ireland, including a stint with Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children’s Project and running his own PR company for eight years, he moved to Sydney to take up a senior role in the Australian Trade Union movement four years ago.
Australia does not recognise same-sex marriage, but a vote is due in parliament in the coming weeks. The Australian Labor Party supports marriage equality, and is allowing a free vote for MPs and senators. However, the ruling Conservative government, let by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is against marriage equality, and its members are not allowed a free vote.
In particular, Dermot appealed to the large Irish Australian contingent of the ALP, which is a huge presence in the party, and includes many social conservatives.
Dermot was the final speaker in favour of a resolution supporting marriage equality, which was passed.