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.
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.
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