Senator says broadcaster had shown ‘a Gadarene rush’ to settle matter with Iona Institute
Tue, Feb 4, 2014, 17:45 Updated: Tue, Feb 4, 2014, 17:54
Independent Senator David Norris has strongly criticised RTÉ’s payment of damages to members of the Iona Institute over a claim of homophobia.
“It is disgraceful that RTÉ had shown such a Gadarene rush to pay up on this issue,’’ he said. “I wonder what the legal advice the State broadcaster was given, because I very much doubt it was clearly in the line which RTÉ took.’’
The payment, believed to be in the region of €85,000, followed an interview in the Saturday Night Show with performer Rory O’Neill, otherwise known as Panti Bliss.
Speaking in the Seanad today, Mr Norris said that “as a taxpayer and television licence payer, I would like to know why my money is being given to these people’’.
He added that he knew the Iona Institute would not co-operate with the Standards in Public Office Commission, which was extraordinary.
“I know they are controlled by a company called Lolex Ltd which was founded in 2006,’’ he added. “I would like to know how they achieved their status in society.’’
Mr Norris, who was speaking on the Order of Business, called for a debate on homophobia “in a context where an attempt is being made to close down that debate’’.