A letter sent to the Irish justice minister by the mother of a gay son has inspired a protest today outside the Irish parliament for gay marriage.

Helen Doody’s letter, in which she asked minister Dermot Ahern to “revise [the civil partnerships bill] so everyone can be equal”, is fast becoming an internet sensation.

Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk last night, her son Declan said: “When the letter came out on the internet, my mum didn’t expect the reaction.

“When I read the email, I never expected that. We had never talked about gay marriage although she knew one day I wanted to get married. It’s amazing.

On the hastily-arranged protest, he said: “My friend Tony said that as the government go on holiday soon, this could be a good chance to remind them we want marriage.

“We’re hoping as many people as possible will come down, maybe at least 50 or 60.

“We’ve had two radio stations covering it and it was in the newspaper this morning. Since Monday, it seems to have gone around the world, I’ve heard its on websites in Germany and Australia.

“Within 20 minutes of me posting it, a well-known drag queen had it on her website. Then it was on Facebook.”

The protest will be held outside Parliament Buildings (Dail Eireann) at 1pm today. Another, larger protest is scheduled for August when parliament returns.

Despite her forthright yet eloquent letter, Mrs Doody has declined to speak to the media.

Declan said: “She refused to talk to the radio stations, she was worried she might say the wrong thing or offend other people. Although the newspaper printed her letter this morning and she’s had loads of people congratulating her.”