'An apology is just an apology': Varadkar pledges to expunge convictions of men for being gay

Update 8.11pm: The Taoiseach says efforts are being made to expunge the convictions of men for being gay, prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

He made the comments at a State reception to mark the anniversary of the landmark decision.

Representatives from advocacy groups, the judiciary and politicians are among those at Dublin Castle, 25 years on from the historic move.

File photo of Leo Varadkar at Dublin Pride last year.

Leo Varadkar told the hundreds in attendance that the state wanted to go further than the apology issued earlier this week.

"Minister Charlie Flanagan, working with our colleagues in the Labour Party, will be consulting with the Gardaí, the DPP and the UK Home Office to develop proposals to allow us to expunge historic convictions on request, where there was consent," said Mr Varadkar.

"An apology is just an apology. We want to go further and expunge those convictions as well."

Long-time campaigner Senator David Norris outlined the impact the old law had on gay men before decriminalisation.

"If gay people were attacked, raped or robbed, they could not go to the police because they would then be turned into the pariahs themselves and charged with a crime. That was really appalling.

"People were driven into marriage only to be told when they were in the marriage that the marriage was a sham because they were homosexual."

Original story (7.22am): Dublin Castle reception to mark 25th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality

A State reception will be held in Dublin this evening, to mark the anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality

It is 25 years since the landmark decision came into effect, and comes following a government apology this week to the LGBTI community

Dubin Castle will be the setting for this evening's State reception.

Those who fought equality and freedom for LGBTI people over many decades are among those invited.

More than 700 people are expected to attend including advocacy groups, members of the judiciary, faith groups and a number of politicians

The event follows the historic all-party motion in the Dáil and Seanad this week.

The Taoiseach led a Dáil apology to men who were convicted for being gay.

Leo Varadkar paid tribute to campaigners for gay rights, and he remembered those who suffered and died because of their sexuality.

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