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Children's Minister accepts apology from John Connors who says he was 'politically naive'

Connors was part of a campaign that sought to have Roderic O’Gorman resign.

Connors at the Dáil protest on 11 July.
Connors at the Dáil protest on 11 July.
Image: Sasko Lazarov

CHILDREN’S MINISTER RODERIC O’Gorman has said he fully accepts an apology made to him by actor and Traveller activist John Connors.

O’Gorman said he considers the matter “fully resolved” after Connors published a lengthy apology last night in which he said he regretted siding with “the very people whose politics I most despise”. 

The affair came about after an online campaign was launched in the past couple of weeks seeking to have the Green Party minister resign because of a photograph of him at a Pride march in 2018.

O’Gorman was photographed with LGBT rights campaigner and former UK election candidate Peter Tatchell. Tatchell has been a prominent activist since the 1970s but has been forced to defend comments he made in 1997 in which he spoke about sex between adults and children.

The online campaign to seek O’Gorman’s resignation was based on the photograph of the two at the public march, an encounter O’Gorman says was their only meeting

O’Gorman previously said that the campaign against him was “rooted in homophobia, and stoked by anonymous, far-right Twitter accounts”.

Connors had been a vocal supporter of the campaign and he subsequently spoke at a rally that was held outside the Dáil two weekends ago. 

That protest was organised by a number of groups with Renua, The Irish Freedom Party and the far right National Party in attendance. 

Pictures of the protest featured members of The National Party holding a banner which featured a noose. The party said its protest was about having a death penalty for certain crimes. 

DAIL PROTEST 9M5A8069 Members of The National Party at the protest. Source: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

In his public apology last night, Connors said remarks he made about O’Gorman and his participation in the “online frenzy” were “wrong and unfair on every level”.

“I allowed myself to lead and be part of an online frenzy that cast hurtful and false assertions on his character and pursued him in the most unfair way. I am so sorry for any hurt I caused Minister O’Gorman and I have sent him a letter offering him my sincere apologies,” Connors said.

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The actor said there is “no justification” for his actions but added that he has dealt with “a number of tragedies” in the last few years.

“I have recently found myself unravelling. This is in no way to excuse what I said and how I behaved. Looking back I’m sick to my stomach,” Connors said.

He added:

What is difficult for me to accept is that my own misguided anger led me to appear to feed an army of trolls and support groups whose views I find repugnant, whose politics are rotten and whose methods are ugly. What isn’t said becomes a symptom and in not dealing with my emotional problems I went into a dark hole and lost myself and now I find myself in a position where l seemed to have sided with the very people whose politics I most despise. I have been politically naive. I did not fully inform myself of their views and l am truly horrified that I have in any way have enabled them. 

“I’ve battled bigotry my whole life and my deranged pursuit of Minister O’Gorman played a huge part in the homophobic backlash he received by the very bigots I despise,” he said. 

Accepting Connors’ apology today, O’Gorman urged the actor to take care of himself.

“I very much appreciate the statement and email from John Connors. The matter between us is fully resolved as far as I’m concerned. Take care of yourself John,” the minister wrote on Twitter.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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