Former President Mary McAleese says churches in Ireland have questions to answer around being 'conduits for homophobia'.
She was speaking after the deaths of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee in Co Sligo.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the LGBT community is 'very worried' about what the murders represent.
While Mrs McAleese, who will be speaking to The Anton Savage Show this Saturday, says while Ireland is a safe place, homophobia - and homophobes - are out there.
"It's out there, it's on the streets.
"When my son was married a couple of years ago - he's gay - when he and his husband got married, I was doing a homily at the wedding.
"I just made the point about how fortunate we are to live in a place where he and his partner, his husband, can walk the streets in relative safety.
"But knowing too that there's always the homophobe, there's always the hatred that can outcrop - but also knowing there are parts of the world he simply cannot visit."
She says there is more work that needs to be done.
"We also need to have the kind of debate about where does this hatred come from? What keeps it going? What fails to challenge it?
"And I still think, regrettably, that in a country where religion plays a very, very, very big role and is a huge key influencer of attitudes, I think the churches - and I'm not just talking about the Catholic church, I'm talking about all the major denominations - because all of them are conduits for homophobia.
"They all have questions to ask about whether or not, and to what extent, they have been conduits for hatred".
Mrs McAleese believes the issue of homophobia has been relegated to the sidelines.
"It's never gone away, Anton, is the truth of the matter.
"What has happened though is that it has been really relegated to the corner, the bad boy's and bad girl's corner.
"From a time when it was almost the prevailing law of the land, you could say?
"When I first got involved years ago with David Norris way back in the 1970s, setting up the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, don't forget what we were trying to do was to change a law which criminalised homosexual activity.
"And there are countries all over the world where that still happens - where homosexual activity is criminalised.
"And indeed not only criminalised, but in some cases amenable to death penalties.
"That world of homophobia for a long time was the prevalent world.
"But what has happened in the liberal democracies, thankfully, and with the advent of the massification of second-level and third-level education and the interrogatory powers that it has given to individuals to analyse what their beliefs are based on.
"The groundlessness of sexism, of homophobia, of all those 'isms' that hold us back from really loving one another and being tolerant and inclusive of one another as we should be".
You can hear the full interview on The Anton Savage Show on Saturday from 9.00am on Newstalk