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Senator suggests marriage referendum money better spent testing gay people for HIV

Senator Jim Walsh told the Seanad the idea was put to him by a gay man he met last weekend.

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A SENATOR HAS claimed that a gay man told him last weekend that the money being spent on the same-sex marriage referendum would be better used to provide free HIV testing for homosexuals.

Jim Walsh, who is well-known in political circles for his conservative views, said that there were better ways to use the estimated €21 million that is being spent on the two referenda taking place on 22 May.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

He told the Seanad:

I met a gay man over the weekend and we were just discussing about the referendum and he just said to me: ‘It’s going to cost €21 million to run these referenda and to run the referendum on gay marriage’. He said that money could be so much better spent, in his opinion. He said, for example, if that money were to be used to provide free HIV testing to people who are homosexual, where there’s an increase now in the numbers affected by HIV, it would be far better expenditure of money.

Walsh was heckled from across the chamber after making the remarks.

Labour senator Denis Landy remarked: “Can we stick to the subject that we’re discussing here. We had three days of that already.”

Landy was referring to the debate last week on the same-sex marriage referendum bill which Walsh opposed. His opposition to that bill and the Child and Family Relationships Bill saw him resign the Fianna Fáil whip.

Walsh was speaking on the bill that would give effect to the other referendum taking place on 22 May which, if passed, would reduce the age at which a citizen can run for president from 35 to 21.

The Wexford-based senator had earlier expressed misgivings about the holding of such a referendum.

He noted that the cross-party support for it was indicative of political parties “being afraid to say ‘no’ anymore”.

Read: Conservative senator Jim Walsh resigns from Fianna Fáil parliamentary party

Read: Senator warns against encouraging gay people to believe “sameness” achievable

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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