Autism controversy - The right to an opinion

The publication of an article on autism in last Friday’s Feelgood supplement in this newspaper by Dr Tony Humphreys has caused an outpouring of hurt, anger and concern among readers, a selection of whose comments are published today.

Dr Humphreys is a highly experienced and well-regarded clinical psychologist, successful author, and broadcaster.

We have been heavily criticised for publishing his column, particularly for the hurt Dr Humphreys’ opinions caused to parents of children with autism.

In today’s edition, the chief executive of Irish Autism Action Kevin Whelan takes issue with the views expressed by Dr Humphreys.

This newspaper has a long record of campaigning for the rights and services for people with an intellectual disability.

Our role in this regard has been frequently acknowledged, not least in an award from the national association of people with an intellectual disability, Inclusion Ireland.

We have fought, and will continue to fight, for the rights of people with disabilities.

While we regret and are sorry for the obvious hurt caused by Dr Humphreys’ comments, we stand by his right to freedom of expression in a democratic society, just as we would support the rights of others to disagree with and criticise his views and criticise us for having published them.

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