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Brendan O'Connor on our TV, Radio One. OK, Reichenbach.
No, we just bring you up to speed quickly. We're talking to Father Joe McDonald, who's taking part in a new reality show on Virgin Media called Eating with the Enemy. So when we left him, he's sitting, waiting to eat with the enemy. There's a gorgeous, curvaceous creature in a blue dress and blonde hair coming down the steps towards him and Joe to take it from there. I interrupted you.
So as the person walked towards me, I started to realise I have to be honest, and it really does, mate. I actually thought it might be Rory walking towards me. And as it turned out, it wasn't Rory, it was Bonnie and Clyde. And I realised that that I was going to have a meal with with with a drag queen. So I think I don't know if this is fair because obviously I'd be interested to hear from Bonnie on it.
But my immediate reaction. Yeah, I got a bit of a you got a bit of a hop, but I think I think Bonnie got a bigger hop and maybe, maybe, maybe not. But, you know, it was it was an interesting juxtaposition, the priest and the drag queen.
OK, well, let's ask Bonnie. Bonnie, did you get a bit of a hop, so to speak, when when the when the when you saw the priest sitting there?
Yeah, I walked around the corner and I saw a priest. I was very, very shocked. And it's nice to be reunited again, Joe.
Hello. Absolutely. Yeah. It's great to hear you. Really great to hear this.
This is terrible. You're clearly not enemies anymore. Before we get into the to what transpired at the dinner, tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 26 year old drag queen. I am from Dublin. I'm campy, fun, energetic. And I'm the next kind XBLA woman for Father Joe.
OK, that sounded like a boy argued put up on, I don't know, Grindr or whatever you guys are using these days. Like I'm gonna be energetic and OK. Exito advertise on Grindr. Is it right. Relisten. You've advertised it to the nation. No. So you weren't expecting a priest but clearly it went well. Did it's funny.
I went into it quite cynical. I was like ready to like defend my position and like just all guns blazing. And I sat down and it was like smiles all around straightaway.
Yeah. You see, they put you with the wrong priest. Like, is this guy this guy is not a priest at all. He's gone he's gone far off the off the good path at this stage. And and tell me so there was no element of from was there any element of tension at the beginning or anything or did you just bond straight away, Bonnie.
I think from like just from a visual aspect, kind of seeing the priest collar, I just instantly would have kind of like the OK, here I go, ready to like ready to defend everything. And then it kind of just as soon as we started talking, it was very much just friendly conversation. And I was like a little bit more relaxed and I was, OK, we can get into this. And I'm still cautious about, like, how what topics we're going to come off, what we'd have to discuss and how much of an actual of debate it was going to be.
So I was prepared, but like optimistic.
So you're given topics to talk about topics that you might disagree on. Is that the idea?
Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Drogon, yeah. What what happened what struck me was a little bit strange in the beginning was we both actually had an iPod in front of us and I thought we were in a sense not to look at it or, you know, be concealing the fact. But in fact, the program's quite up front. The questions are feeding to into you. So in the conversation, you'll hear that Ubani elsewhere, I'd say, or we have another question.
So the conversation was structured in that sense, you know, no, they let it flow.
But but like even what kind of stuff did you talk about? Well, I mean that broadly speaking, we discuss sexuality, we discuss marriage. We discuss either of you OK for getting married.
I mean, I don't mean to be.
And in general, I think, Brandon, you're stirring up trouble. Nice getting into the thing. Can I can I just say the thing about this, about the name of the programme, even with the enemy or even what some people today are calling it, going behind enemy lines. When I was driving home that evening, I was actually saying to myself, well, whatever else I did today, I didn't make any enemy. Yeah, you know, it was a really good experience.
No, look, I think I think Bonnie and I are both clear enough. We're not pretending that that was no difficult conversation. We're not pretending that everything sits real comfortably and there's no problem. But I think what happened I hope what happened. I think we we respected each other. I think we enjoyed the. Experience, did you learn anything from Bonnie Jo? Yes, yes, I did. And you see, the thing that came across for me very, very quickly was the authenticity, the realness and also the honesty, like, you know, even listening to Bonnie again, so to speak, and say, you know what the sense getting ready, all guns blazing and all that.
But in actual fact, I think I hope what we tried to do was hold the tension between being respectful of one another and yet being true to where we are in life and where we are in life is very different. And we have different views on X, Y and Z and so on. But what I feel, I hope I don't know what the other programme, the other episodes of the programme are like, but I would hope ours will stand as an example of two people who could easily have slid into being cardboard cut-outs and thrown slogans at each of our money.
And did you learn anything from Father Joe? I think I just learnt not to be so judgemental and like kind of having a preconceived notion of someone, especially like a priest who is such it's such an Irish kind of figure, like we all know the local priest and we all think we know what they're like. And really kind of I realise that most people are like everyone's an individual and regardless of what profession you're in or if you're part of an institution that doesn't really define you as the type of person you come across.
And I think it's the quality of your character that matters more. So it's interesting.
Barney, would you have said then that you were probably and this is turning things around a bit, that you were probably prejudiced against priests and maybe Catholics in general? Oh, for sure.
I think like oh, definitely like 100 percent, because I think we talk a lot about the kind of the marriage referendum and kind of the the the no side lot being very public about the about being against gay people. It was very from a religious point of view and a family structure point of view. And I think that kind of like changed me a little bit and in my views of kind of Catholics in general. But I think we all have those kind of preconceived notions about everybody.
But I think especially for a kind of queer people, it's it's very much we've all grown up and in our lives, especially in Ireland, kind of it's not. We've talked about a lot. There's a lot of shame. There's a lot of guilt.
And would you blame would you blame the influence of the church in Ireland for a lot of the way you grew up?
And I wouldn't I wouldn't say personally for myself, because the family I was very fortunate. And finally, I grew up and we weren't overly religious and we were very open and accepting. But I can see, like a lot of my friends, a lot of people around Ireland, especially outside of Dublin, would still carry, I think, a lot of shame from their childhoods and their adolescence, which I think that it's not all to do with religion.
I'm not totally blaming Catholicism for this, but I think there is a lot of there's a lot of shame put on by religion and all that money.
And we're talking to, I suppose, Rory, who's of a slightly different generation to you, obviously, is life hard for young gay men at the moment with the pandemic? I mean, has it made things more difficult?
It's it's difficult in the sense that it's kind of on a person to person basis. But in general, like, we kind of congregate in our spaces, like our spaces are mainly nightclubs and bars. That's where we kind of feel like most at home. We like our communities. So to not have that is very difficult. And I think a lot of people, like I know so many kind of people from the community who've moved out and have gone back to their parents and or whatever, and they're kind of isolated in that sense.
So it is difficult. I'm very fortunate. I like I'm living with queer people at the moment. We all live together in a big gay house and very fortunate in that sense. I have that kind of sense of community with them. But I know there's a lot of people, and especially people who out and the performers like myself, like their social life is performing. And that's just not there at the moment.
Yeah, yeah. That's that's true. OK, well, listen, I look forward to seeing natural and and best of luck with everything and thank you so much. And Father Joe, good luck with the breakaway church.
They're all free and easy with the enemy is on this Wednesday, the 3rd of March at 9pm on Virgin Media on and all the episodes will be available to watch on Virgin Media's free player. Thanks, Barney, and thanks, Joe. Let's take a break. Thanks.
Thank you, Brandon. Dotti.