'It's amazing to have a park named after Steo'
Husband delighted with council's plan
STEPHEN Gately's widower Andy Cowles has vowed to visit a park being renamed in honour of the Boyzone singer - and plans to bring along his husband-to-be.
The Sunday World can reveal that Andy got engaged this week to his partner of seven years, Rafael Romero.
English businessman Cowles told us he was "overwhelmed" that members of Dublin City Council have proposed to rename a park where Stephen grew up on the capital's northside in his honour.
"It's amazing, it's crazy to have a park named after Steo," raves Andy. "Usually it's kings and presidents.
"I did have an emotional day when I heard. I'm so proud of him, but also incredibly sad that he isn't here to witness it. But hopefully he knows somehow."
The six hectare Royal Canal Linear Park, which opened 10 years ago and runs alongside Spencer Dock, is to be renamed after Gately as he hailed from the area.
The name change was proposed by independent councillors Christy Burke and Anthony Flynn at Tuesday's Central Area Committee meeting and will go before the city council in the coming days.
"It was such a beautiful gesture by the councillors to suggest him too," said Andy. "Showing some pride in local talent and 'boy done good'.
"If there is some ceremony then I would like to go. If I can't make it on the day it's being held I would definitely fly over on another date and make it my priority to visit it.
"My man will literally have his name on the map, he'd be so happy."
Andy has been dating Brazilian Rafael since they first met seven years ago in England.
"Rafael and I got engaged this week on holiday in Greece," he announced.
"We've been together seven years and it's been a tough seven years, so it's only proper I 'put a ring on it'.
"He'll come with me to Ireland. He's desperate to visit Dublin anyhow and we will go to the park being named in Stephen's memory together."
Stephen's mother Margaret still lives in Sheriff Street where the late singer grew up.
His father Martin died three years ago.
Earlier this week Margaret gave her blessing for the park to be renamed after her son and said she would love if that happened and would be so proud.
Band member Keith Duffy was thrilled to hear of the news, saying on Instagram it was "a beautiful way to remember the legend of Stephen Gately", while fellow Boyzone veteran Ronan Keating tweeted: "It would be just amazing to keep Stephen's memory alive forever. Well done Dublin Council."
Stephen died at age of 33 at his villa in Majorca on October 20, 2009. His death from natural causes was later determined to have been caused by a pulmonary oedema from an undiagnosed heart condition.