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Friday 2 June 2023 Dublin: 11°C
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# Online abuse
Roderic O'Gorman speaks out about 'vicious abuse' against LGBT+ community
The Green Party minister said he is subjected to daily abuse on social media.

MINISTER FOR EQUALITY Roderic O’Gorman has condemned “vicious abuse” targeted at LGBT+ people and activists, describing his own experience of receiving vitriol online.

The Green Party minister, who worked on civil partnership legislation while the Greens were in government in 2007 and later campaigned for marriage equality, said he is subjected to daily abuse on social media.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Minister O’Gorman said that “the abuse that I get, and it’s very much focused on being gay, is not something I’m terribly comfortable talking about but I’m also aware that right now, online, in various public fora, a lot of people who are gay or advocating on LGBT+ issues are facing particularly vicious abuse”.

He said that “on a daily basis me and my team are cleaning off comments on my social media” that are “targeted because I’m gay”.

Every politician has to be ready for robust criticism, absolutely, but there is a definite change in dialogue in certain parts of the public on these particular issues.”

The minister said that he is “able to take it” but that for “young people who are online and having to face similar kinds of attacks, it is really difficult and I think it’s important we call it out initially”, adding that there are further steps to take in terms of legislation for online abuse.

“Much and all as I don’t like talking about this kind of personal stuff, it does need to be called out because it is happening more and more and it is really damaging.”

The minister said that he has warned people who are considering running for his party, The Green Party, in the next election, that the level of abuse is different to when he first ran for election in 2004.

“The online side of it, which you have to do, you have to be present there, it’s really tough.

“I don’t get into responding to tweets anymore. I used to do it before but I just had to cut it out now because some of the stuff is so nasty if you let it get into your head, it would distract you from the important work we are trying to do”.

The minister also defended on the programme the Green Party’s role in the government’s decision not to extend an eviction ban that is due to expire at the end of this month, leaving many tenants without secure housing once the ban is lifted.

“What we were fighting for is to move from a short-term response, which is what the eviction ban represented, to a long-term response which will keep people in their homes,” O’Gorman said.

“That’s what’s been represented by the change that’s been brought forward to the tenant-in-situ scheme to allow approved housing bodies to have the right of first refusal when a tenant who doesn’t qualify for social housing supports is given an eviction notice for reasons of sale and allowing an approved housing body to purchase that house and rent it back to the tenant at an affordable rent.”

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