Minister Roderic O’Gorman reveals how abuse he receives is ‘focused on being gay’
‘I'm able to take it but for young people who are online and having to face similar kinds of attacks it is really difficult’
Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman has said he is targeted with abuse as a politician because of his sexuality,
Speaking after a member of the public interrupted a RTE Six One broadcast to make anti-LGBT comment about him, the Green Party TD said he is able to handle abuse but is concerned for young people facing harassment online.
Mr O’Gorman said he has been called a “child groomer” and “paedophile” on social media because he is a gay man.
“The kind of the abuse that I get is very much focused on being gay but it's not something I'm terribly comfortable talking about,” the minister told RTE One’s The Week in Politics.
He said people who are gay or advocating on behalf of he LGBT+ community are facing “pretty vicious abuse” on social media.
“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,” he said.
“I'm able to take it but for young people who are online and having to face similar kinds of attacks it is really difficult, and I think it's important that we call it out,” he added.
Mr O’Gorman said the Government is introducing new controls through the introduction of an Online Safety and Media Regulator and also by passing hate crime legislation.
“I don’t like talking about this kind of personal stuff and it's not about me, but it just does need to be called out because it is happening more and more and it is really damaging,” he said.
On Friday, RTÉ News Midlands Correspondent Sinead Hussey was interrupted by a man talking and recording on his phone during a live broadcast. The man walked into the frame of the broadcast a number of times making anti-LGBT+ comments including about Mr O’Gorman.
The minister said the level of abuse targeted at politicians is far worse now than when he first entered politics
“It is different now the online side of it, which you have to do you have to be present there, but it is really tough.
“I don't really get into responding to tweets anymore. I just had to cut that out. I used to do it all the time but I just have to cut it out now because just some of this stuff is so nasty. If you let it get into your head it would kind of distract you from the important work we're trying to do within our own department and across government,” he added.
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