Executive Director (Australia) & Political Director (Ireland)
Equality Campaign in Australia & Yes Equality
Tiernan Brady is one of the most prominent and successful international LGBTI rights and equality campaigners in the world today. He has been integral in delivering marriage equality in Ireland and Australia, the only two countries in the world to do so by public vote. Brady has designed a campaign approach to LGBTI equality that focusses on equality being about social peace and cohesion. This approach is built on the principle that real victory for LGBTI people was not about defeating others, but persuading them. This means how we campaign for equality is just as important as why we campaign. He believes polarising campaigns do not create the real change that LGBTI people need even when they win. While it may change the law it will also damage the social fabric and the daily lives of LGBTI people in its wake. The approach was to be respectful and positive, avoiding angry debates with the activists from the opponents of equality.
His work in Australia and Ireland on LGBTI equality and his experience working in Irish politics give him a unique insight into how to make change happen.
Tiernan was the Executive Director of the Equality Campaign in Australia, the successful national campaign for Australian Marriage Equality. He led the building of the new national organisation from its inception through to the public vote. The Equality Campaign built a network of over 1,400 support organisations including businesses, unions, LGBTI groups, ethnic community organisations, religious groups and political parties. In November 2017 the campaign successfully won marriage equality in the public vote with over 7 millions votes in favour representing 62% of the vote, a majority in every State and Territory and in 90% of parliamentary electorates
Tiernan was the Political Director of Yes Equality, the Irish campaign for marriage equality. Ireland became the ﬁrst country in the world to introduce marriage equality for LGBTI people by a public vote. He designed and implemented the political strategy during the Irish referendum. He worked closely with political parties and leaders from across the political spectrum to maximise their impact in the referendum and develop and coordinate tactics and messaging. This strategy delivered the support of all the political parties during the referendum which passed with 62% of the vote and a majority in 43 or the 44 electoral constituencies in Ireland.
In advance of the referendum, he represented marriage equality advocates at the Irish constitutional convention and opened for the yes case to the delegates. He also led Ireland’s most successful register to vote drive with over 20,000 new voters enrolled in advance of the public vote.
Tiernan was the policy oﬃcer for GLEN - The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Ireland’s leading LGBTI organisation. In that role he devised and implemented the political strategy that built cross party support for civil partnership, focussing on making sure that equality did not become a party political issue but rather one with the broadest possible political consensus. The result was a bill which passed the Dail (Irish parliament) with no votes against and passed the Senate with only 4 votes against.
Ireland – HIV Prevention Tiernan led the Irish GLEN work on HIV prevention, addressing HIV stigma and improving sexual health outcomes for LGBTI people. He designed and launched Ireland’s ﬁrst community based rapid HIV testing program, the KnowNow project. The KnowNow project became the most successful program of its kind in Europe. He served on the National AIDS Strategy Committee and co-wrote the 2015 national sexual health strategy.
Mayor After ﬁnishing university Tiernan was elected Mayor of his home town of Bundoran, County Donegal in Ireland in 1999. He served in local government until 2008.
Director of Organisation for Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Pat the Cope Gallagher Ceann Comhairle (Speaker of the Irish parliament) Tiernan ran the election campaigns of both Gallagher and Coughlan. During his time as Director the party vote of the candidates rose from 38% to 52% and doubled the seat representation in the electorate.