This website is run my Dil Wickremasinghe (Vic-ra-ma-sing-ha) – that’s her good self over there!
Do you need Dil’s biog for an event? Find one here!
Where did you say you come from again?
“I am Irish” that would be Dil’s short answer as after living in Ireland 17 years she is now a proud Irish citizen. Here’s the long answer, Dil was born in Rome in 1973 to Sri Lankan parents. At the age of 12 she moved to Colombo. When she turned 17 she discovered her love for media and started working for a national radio station in Colombo and shortly afterwards became a regular contributor to Sri Lankan TV chat shows. But it was not to last as she was told that if she wanted to pursue a career in Sri Lankan media she would have to conceal her sexuality.
Not wanting to compromise her identity, at the age of 21 Dil made the heart breaking decision to abandon her dream and leave Sri Lanka. She took a job as a flight attendant for Gulf Air based in Bahrain. After travelling the world for 5 years Dil decided to move to Ireland and arrived in Dublin in June 2000 with very few savings and no idea of what she was going to do!
Career – Journalist and Mental Health Service Provider
Dil started from scratch and worked her way up – kitchen porter, silver service waiter, receptionist, HR administrator, senior recruitment consultant, company director, trainer, community worker, activist, social entrepreneur, stand up comedian, actor, mental health service provider, broadcaster, journalist and podcaster.
Dil has realized her dream to work in media and is now a successful and accomplished broadcaster. For a decade she presented the weekly award winning “Global Village” show on Newstalk 106-108FM.
In September 2017 after a decade her show was axed abruptly just two weeks after Dil publicly spoke out about a fellow presenter’s views on rape. Today she is more determined than ever to continue her work as a journalist and advocate for the voiceless in our society. It has always been her personal belief that equality for one person is equality for all and she has regarded her work as more than just a job, rather her own civic duty to inspire positive social change one conversation at a time.
Within a week of leaving Newstalk she launched her own podcast “Sparking Change with Dil” on the HeadStuff Podcast Network. For more information and to listen to her podcasts click here
Dil feels she is just getting started as her ultimate aim is to host a daily daytime television show featuring her passions – social justice, mental health and stand up comedy!
In addition to her media work Dil co-founded Insight Matters, a counselling and psychotherapy service with her wife Anne Marie Toole. With a team of 50 therapists they support the mental health of over 400 clients per week.
Insight Matters is a social enterprise and was established in 2011 to provide inclusive, affordable and accessible mental health support services in Dublin city centre. For more information click here
Up close and very personal with Dil
Dil’s full name is Mihindikoolasuriya Nancy Lea Dilhani Wickremasinghe but you can call her Dil… (did I hear you breathe a sigh of relief?). In India and Sri Lanka “Dil” means heart however in Ireland her name is reduced to a herb that often accompanies salmon! Dil is a proud lesbian migrant woman who cares deeply about social justice and mental health so much so that she has made it her life’s work to create awareness of these issues.
Why does Dil care so much about social justice?
The reason Dil cares so much is because she has experienced many injustices during the course of her life. Dil’s life began in the lap of luxury in Italy, she lived in an affluent neighbourhood, went to a private school, had a loving nanny and was surrounded by a family that loved her. Sadly due to her parents’ incompatibility the marriage broke down just as young Dil became a teenager and the family went into crisis. As a last-ditched attempt to save the family, Dil’s parents became Jehovah’s Witnesses and forced Dil to join the religion and was stopped from celebrating birthdays, Christmas, going to school socials or having any friends.
Dil was then sent to live in Sri Lanka with her grandparents and this marked the beginning of a very dark period in her life. She was sent to private Math grinds and suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her teacher. When she tried to tell her mother she was told “no one we knew would ever do a thing like that!” So she suffered the ordeal in silence. As a result Dil failed her O’Levels (Junior cert) and was expelled from school. When Dil turned 16 she kissed another Jehovah’s Witness girl and soon became aware that this was the beginning of a lifetime battle to gain her parents and societies acceptance. Sadly her fears were realised as a few months later her parents, upon discovery of her sexuality, kicked her out of the family home. She was just 17 years old. Dil was homeless for a number of years and relied heavily on friends and lovers for support.
From the darkness to the light!
When Dil moved to Ireland in 2000 she fully intended to re-invent herself and put the past behind her but soon it all began “leaking” through. As a result Dil’s mental health started suffering and she began to struggle with suicidal thoughts. In 2006 she contacted One in Four and began her journey towards self-awareness and self-acceptance with the aid of psychotherapy. In the following 3 years Dil confronted her demons and slowly began to piece her life back together and develop her mental health strategy. Dil is now an ambassador for See Change, SOS and One in Four and shares her story in an effort to break down mental health stigma and inspire people to embark on their own journey towards self-discovery and reaching their true potential!
Dil and Anne Marie
In 2010 Dil met the “beautiful Anne Marie” at a mental health retreat in County Wicklow. Within 6 months Dil popped the question on Anne Marie’s 30th birthday on a crisp winter’s afternoon on Dun Laoghaire pier. To her absolute delight Anne Marie said yes but they decided not to enter into Civil Partnership as they believed their love and commitment deserved full equality in the form of civil marriage. In Septmeber 2014 Dil and Anne Marie announced they were expecting their first child as Dil was pregnant. They welcomed their son Phoenix into the world in a glorious home birth on 17th May 2015, 5 days before the historic Marriage Referendum! In fact their first outing as a family was to the polling station!
On 20th December Dil and Anne Marie got married in an intimate surprise wedding in their Georgian home on Mountjoy Square… all the guests thought they were attending Phoenix’s naming ceremony only to be greeted by the Discovery Gospel Choir!
Then less than 2 years later Dil and Anne Marie announced they were expecting their second child as this time Anne Marie was pregnant! They welcomed their daughter Xavier on 16th August 2017 – their family is complete!
Published in the Sunday Independent 15th March 2015
Photo by Gerry Mooney
Newstalk presenter Dil Wickremasinghe and her partner Anne Marie Toole on the joy of their first baby
Between them, they have successfully overcome the challenges of dealing with sexual abuse, an eating disorder and public scrutiny. Mental health advocates Dil Wickremasinghe and Anne Marie Toole talk of their joy and delight at expecting their first baby together. Read full article here
Published in the Sunday Independent 6th March 2016
Written by Andrea Smith
Photo by David Conachy
We’re married now with our baby son Phoenix and it’s just amazing Dil Wickremasinghe and Anne Marie Toole have already given each other the perfect Mother’s Day gift, says Andrea Smith
Read full article here
Published in the Sunday Independent 6th March 2017
Written by Andrea Smith
Photo by David Conachy
‘We’re like a Celtic Tiger home with two ovens’ – Newstalk presenter Dil Wickremasinghe and Anne Marie Toole on their next baby
Same-sex couple Dil Wickremasinghe and Anne Marie Toole are thrilled to announce Anne Marie’s pregnancy, less than two years after Dil gave birth to their son Phoenix. Read full article here