Come November 2011 when a new President of the Republic of Ireland takes the oath of office and if today’s opinion polls are to be believed, Senator David Norris will be the man in the Park in 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising. One of the most remarkable points of this story is the fact that Mr. Norris is a proud gay Irishman and if historians and researchers are to be believed it will be 100 years since another gay man held the post of the President. Some historians believe that Padraig Pearse was homosexual. They point to an Irish language poem, Little Lad of Tricks that he wrote with the lines:
'There is a fragrance in your kiss
That I have not found yet
In the kisses of women
Or in the honey of their bodies.'
One hundred years ago the world was a different, smaller world and the leaders and organisers of the 1916 Rising if alive today would have probably made the front pages of the Sunday tabloids. Pearse was suspected of homosexual tendencies as was Roger Casement. Thomas Clarke was married to a woman twenty years his junior and Connolly would probably been labelled a communist sympathiser.
The President of Ireland must be born within Ireland but of course James Connolly was born in Scotland and Thomas Clarke born on the Isle of Wight would either man have been allowed to become President had the Republic succeeded in 1916?