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Nolan warns of gay bullying problem

Gay bullying remains a serious problem in Ireland - driving some teenagers to consider taking their own lives, former Big Brother star and television presenter Anna Nolan warned.

The broadcaster said younger people dealing with their sexuality can be plunged into suicidal thoughts because of taunting.

Nolan said those behind the bullying were putting lives at risk.

"Teenagers who feel isolated and threatened can be prone to suicidal thoughts," she said.

The presenter, who has fronted shows on RTE and BBC, was speaking at the launch of suicide bereavement charity Console's National Snowdrop Campaign.

Speaking to students, she said bullying in schools and in the local community, because of homosexuality, remains a big issue in Ireland.

"A young person's mental health can become affected if they feel animosity, non-acceptance, ridicule and fear when telling others about being gay," she said. "They need support and acceptance."

Nolan was joined at the launch by singer and songwriter Jack L, the 2010 ambassador for Console, and RTE presenters Brendan Courtney and Aidan Power, as well as Primetime presenter Miriam O'Callaghan.

Console wants people to buy a three euro snowdrop pin as a symbol of hope during the month of April to raise cash for its suicide bereavement and prevention services.

Major retailers Dunnes Stores, Marks and Spencer, and Veritas and a number of other Irish businesses are stocking the snowdrop pins.

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