Tributes paid to same-sex marriage campaigner

Dean MacCearaín, who died in San Francisco, remembered as smart, funny and charming

Tributes have been paid to young Co Monaghan man Dean MacCearaín who died in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Mr MacCearaín was described by friends as an “incredible person”, while Minister of State with responsibility for equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin spoke of his sadness to hear of the death of the 23 year-old, who had campaigned for same-sex marriage.

"So saddened to hear of the passing of Dean MacCearaín in San Francisco. I remember him vividly from the Dublin Castle #marref celebrations," the Labour TD tweeted this morning.

The young man in this picture is Dean MacCearain. I didn't know Dean very well, but he features prominently in a lovely...

Posted by Panti Bliss / Pantibar on Friday, October 23, 2015

"So sad to hear of his passing. He was such an incredible person and put a smile on my face whenever I was around him," wrote Seán Ó Brádaigh in a Facebook post. "No one ever had a bad word to say about him, he had a heart of gold. May you rest in peace, friend."

Aaron Blake wrote: "Dean, I can't believe I'm writing this; I don't even know what to say, I'm just in shock. To say you were the life of the party is an understatement; you were energetic, vibrant, full of life...I am going to miss you so so so sooo much."

Police in the United States are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr MacCearaín's death, and the Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to his family.

He was believed to have been visiting the country for a family wedding.

Mr MacCearaín has also been remembered by staff and students at Maynooth University where he studied, as well as the college's Pride Society of which he was a well-regarded member.

He featured briefly in the recently-released move “The Queen of Ireland” about same-sex marriage activist Rory O’Neill, also known as Panti Bliss, who described Mr MacCearaín as a “smart, funny, charming young man”.

“The thoughts and deepest condolences of everyone involved in the film are with his family, his many friends, and his former classmates at Maynooth University where he was a former president of the Pride Society and a much loved drag star. Which came as no surprise to us. We could tell immediately he was a star,” read a post on the Panti Bliss Facebook page.