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Children's minister rejects 'homophobic' online claims linking him to comments about paedophilia

Roderic O’Gorman criticised the claims made on social media in recent days.

Minister for Children, Disabilty, Equality and Integration Roderic O’Gorman
Minister for Children, Disabilty, Equality and Integration Roderic O’Gorman
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

MINISTER FOR CHILDREN Roderic O’Gorman has hit out at ”homophobic” attempts on social media to link him to views which purport to condone paedophilia.

It follows days of social media claims about the Green TD and his views, and linking him to high-profile UK LGBT activist Peter Tatchell, with whom he was photographed at Dublin’s Pride march in 2018.

Tatchell, who has been a human rights and LGBT rights campaigner since the 1970s, has been criticised for a 1997 letter to the Guardian newspaper about sex between adults and children.

Hundreds of other Twitter and other social media posts have been posted recent days making claims about the recently-appointed minister and his views.

An online petition was also launched calling for the Green TD to resign from his role.

In a statement posted on Twitter this morning, O’Gorman said he would not allow the claims linking him to Tatchell to stand uncorrected, saying they were “rooted in homophobia, stoked by anonymous, far-right Twitter accounts”.

“I met Peter Tatchell once and took a photo. That was the only time I have met him,” the minister 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 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.”

In a letter to The Guardian newspaper in 1997, Tatchell wrote about the “positive nature” of some child-adult sexual relationships, saying some of his friends had made a “conscious choice” to have sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13.

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“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,” the letter said.

However, a post on Tatchell’s website from 2011 says that he does not condone adults having sex with children.

Responding to a tweet last week linking him to O’Gorman, Tatchell also claimed the original letter was edited, but he noted that he said that sex with children was “impossible to condone”.

He added: “This means I condemn and oppose it.”

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