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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
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NI health minister apologises for anti-gay remarks and resigns

Jim Wells drew links between gay relationships and child abuse last week. Police are investigating.

NORTHERN IRELAND’S MINISTER for Health has resigned following comments he made last week that children brought up by parents in a same-sex relationship are “far more likely” to be subject to abuse.

Last Thursday, Jim Wells said the mistreatment of children could arise from the unstable nature of same-sex relationships.

The Democratic Unionist party (DUP) member now faces a police investigation over a further anti-gay controversy involving a lesbian couple at the weekend.

The BBC reports that it is alleged that Jim Wells, who was doing door-to-door canvassing, called at a lesbian couple’s house, and during a conversation was critical of their lifestyle.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has confirmed it is investigating a complaint about the alleged remarks made on Saturday.

In a statement this morning, Wells said he now wants to focus “on helping my wife during her fight for life”.

Over the last few months, his wife Grace has suffered two successive strokes and had major heart surgery.

On the comments he made he said:

“I have already said sorry for offence caused and acknowledged that the comments were factually inaccurate.

At no time did I set out to hurt or offend anyone and it has upset me greatly that the comments made have caused distress to some within our community.

I am deeply saddened that some of those who represent a different viewpoint from me have attacked my family and me in a deeply personal, nasty and in some cases threatening way.

Some of the outbursts on social media have been particularly abusive and menacing in nature.

He said he could no longer carry out his ministerial duties and wants to give his wife “the attention she deserves”.

DUP Leader Peter Robinson thanked him for his service and wished his wife a speedy recovery.

Read: NI Health Minister draws links between gay relationships and child abuse>

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