| 19.8°C Belfast

Children’s minister criticises ‘toxic’ and ‘homophobic’ online attacks about him

The comments arose due to a photo of Roderic O’Gorman with humans rights and LGBT activist Peter Tatchell.

Close

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman arriving for the Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman arriving for the Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman arriving for the Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle.

The Minister for Children has hit out at “homophobic abuse” he has received on social media in recent days from “far-right” groups.

Roderic O’Gorman said he has been subjected to abuse stoked by “far-right” Twitter accounts that reposted a photo of him with British human rights and LGBT activist Peter Tatchell at Dublin Pride in 2018.

Mr O’Gorman said on Monday that Dublin Pride was “the first and only time” he had met Mr Tatchell, who has attracted criticism over a 1997 letter he wrote to the Guardian newspaper about under-age sex.

Close

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman arriving for the Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman arriving for the Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle.

PA

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman arriving for the Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the minister said he was looking forward to starting his new Cabinet role but there are claims being made about him online that he could “not allow to stand uncorrected”.

“I met Peter Tatchell once and took a photo. That was the only time I have met him,” he said. “I knew of him as someone who stood up for LGBT people in countries where their rights were threatened.

“I was surprised to read some of the quotes from the 90s which I had not read before. Any of those views would be completely abhorrent to me. I’m glad to see he’s clarified and explained that what is being alleged isn’t his view.”

Mr Tatchell said the 1997 letter where he wrote that some of his friends had made a “conscious choice” to have sex with an adult when they were under the age of 13, had been edited before publication.

“While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful,” read the letter.

Mr Tatchell tweeted last week regarding the letter, saying: “My Guardian letter of 1997 was edited. It still said paedophila is “impossible to condone”. This means I condemn it. I oppose adults having sex with children.”

PA