Neil takes home the Mr Gay NI Title to Newry

The Tenth annual Mr Gay Ireland Competition took place in The Gibson Hotel in Dublin on Sunday night and Newry took the Mr Northern Ireland title with Mr Gay Newry, Neil McGrath

Neil McGrath, Mr Gay NI with NRC members Padraig Lynch, Gary O'Rourke and Martin King. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Neil McGrath, Mr Gay NI with NRC members Padraig Lynch, Gary O’Rourke and Martin King. Photograph: Columba O’Hare

finally bringing the prize back to Newry after five year of entries. Neil works in Customer Care at Teleperformance at The Quays.

Mr Gay Northern Ireland, Neil McGrath, Mr Gay Newry with David McArdle, MGI and also former Mr Gay Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Mr Gay Northern Ireland, Neil McGrath, Mr Gay Newry with David McArdle, MGI and also former Mr Gay Newry. Photograph: Columba O’Hare

Newry Rainbow Community organise the Mr Gay Newry competition every year and Padraig Lynch from the NRC, a former Mr Gay Newry himself congratulated the winner and added “It’s great to see the Mr Gay Northern Ireland title coming to Newry at last and we are so happy to have such a worthy winner in Neil, who spoke so passionately at the final about the importance of family and how supported he was by them. We have a truly inspirational role model in Neil” Neil also spoke of the importance of the NRC Centre at 82a Hill Street in Newry to young people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality or who just want to meet new friends.

Th Mr Gay Ireland competition has the important task of being an awareness creating event of the varied and vibrant gay community in Ireland north and south as well as raising much needed funds for HIV projects. Since the competition started ten years ago they have raised over €150,000 for charity.

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Quit Smoking event this Monday


The NRC are hosting a stop smoking event next Monday at the NRC Centre 82a Hill Street in Newry in conjunction with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust

There will be a chance for one to one consultation, a personalised quit plan, find out your lung age and a free carbon monoxide test.

The event runs on Monday the 27th of October from 7pm to 8pm.

It’s free and all are welcome.

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NRC Membership Extended to this Weekend

Because the NRC Centre was closed last weekend due to a bereavement, Membership applications will be accepted for another week and if you missed getting your form in please do so now and return it by this Saturday.

Notification is hereby given that the register of membership of the Newry Rainbow Community for the 2014 / 2015 year is open to Saturday the 25th of October

The running of the NRC is entirely done by volunteers who give up some of their time because they are passionate about the need for the group in Newry. If you would like to get involved with the running of the group or just want to support it this is your chance!

An application form to apply for membership /renewal of membership of the NRC can be obtained from the NRC Secretary at the NRC Centre 82a Hill Street, Newry BT34 1BE or DOWNLOAD HERE

PLEASE NOTE that application forms along with the designated annual membership fee of £5 or €5 must be received by the Secretary no later than Saturday 25th October 2014

Please make Cheques payable to Newry Rainbow Community

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Neil to Represent Newry in Mr Gay Ireland Final

This Sunday in Dublin Newry man Neil McGrath will represent the city in the final of Mr Gay Ireland. The Mr Gay Ireland and Mr Gay Northern Ireland Competition celebrates it’s tenth year this year.

Neil, 30 was chosen by the Newry Rainbow Community as their Mr Gay Newry Candidate for 2014. Neil (30) works in Customer Care at Teleperformance at The Quays.

Neil McGrath

Neil McGrath

The competition is a civic and visibility project founded by Brian Merriman and run by volunteers from the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. The all-island event promotes visibility for young gay people, and safe sex awareness, in cities, towns and communities, especially in rural Ireland. Contestants are visible locally and take part in an intensive weekend of confidence building, gay rights advocacy, networking, civic society engagement and fun each October Bank Holiday weekend in Dublin. Over the past few years, contestants have exclusively fundraised for the New Fill HIV facial reconstruction service at St James Hospital Dublin.

100% of the funds raised by the contestants is donated directly to the New Fill facial restoration service at The Guide Clinic (sexual health) whose volunteer doctors and nurses inject collagen where facial muscles of people living with HIV, have wasted as a result of a reaction to some HIV medicines.

Neil McGrath at the Albert Basin in Newry.

Neil McGrath at the Albert Basin in Newry.

To date the competition contestants have donated €145,000 to HIV and gay causes since 2005.

Neil is raising money via raffles and a fund-raising night in Bellinis and is looking forward to the weekend.

The Mr Gay Newry candidate ‘came out’ to his family and friends in his late teens and in his own words says “ When I knew that my family knew I was gay, then anyone after that wasn’t an issue. I have been extremely lucky throughout my life, as I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by people that respect me for who I am, understand me and are always there for me through thick and thin.”

Neil continued “The biggest support in my life would definitely, without a shadow of a doubt be my Mum, she stands by her words on the day I came out, she has been an ear to bend and my best friend. Family and friends in general are a huge support in all I do and all I believe, they are Amazing!”

Mr Gay Ireland takes place this Sunday night 26th of October at 8pm in The Gibson Hotel in Dublin and Neil is one of 17 candidates from throughout Ireland vying for the Mr Gay Ireland and Mr Gay Northern Ireland titles. A proportion of points awarded on the night come from a public vote and you can Vote once a day for Neil at www.mrgayireland.ie/vote

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Margaret Ritchie Visits NRC Centre

On the fourth anniversary of the Newry Rainbow Community drop in centre at 82a Hill Street in Newry, South Down SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie visited the centre and talked to members of Newry Rainbow Community and heard at first hand the challenges encountered by members of Newry’s diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community .

Margaret Ritchie, MP with Columba O'Hare and Damian McKevitt from Newry Rainbow Community.

Margaret Ritchie, MP with Columba O’Hare and Damian McKevitt from Newry Rainbow Community.

The NRC Secretary Damian McKevitt talked the MP through the services the centre has to offer as well as discussing proposals for the long term sustainability of the centre.

The NRC centre provides a drop in social space, counselling, sexual health and advice, weekly walking group, workshops, womens night, social nights, personal development courses and more. The NRC also organises the annual Pride in Newry Festival in the city in August.

The NRC can be contacted by email at nrc@gaynewry.com

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