Roderic O’Gorman has accepted an apology from actor John Connors after he took part in a social media campaign linking the Children’s Minister to views purporting to condone paedophilia.
Mr O’Gorman was subjected to online abuse stoked by “far-right” Twitter accounts which re-posted a photo of him with British human rights and LGBT activist Peter Tatchell at Dublin Pride in 2018.
The minister said that Dublin Pride was “the first and only time” he had met Mr Tatchell, who has attracted criticism over a 1997 letter he wrote to the Guardian newspaper about under-age sex.
Mr Connors, who was a vocal critic of the minister online and called for his resignation, released a statement on Twitter on Sunday night apologising to Mr O’Gorman, and said he was experiencing difficulties with his mental health following the death of his grandfather.
He wrote: “I would like to publicly apologise to the Minister for Children, Disability and Integration Roderic O’Gorman for remarks I made about him online and at a recent rally outside Leinster House on July 11th. They were so wrong and unfair on every level.
“I allowed myself to lead and be part of an online frenzy that cast hurtful and false assertions on his character and pursued him in the most unfair way.”
Mr Connors said there is “no justification” for his actions, and said he had “lost his way”.
“The last number of years I’ve experienced a number of tragedies which has taken its toll on my mental health.
“I know I have not dealt with grief, anger and other issues and I have recently found myself unravelling. This is no way to excuse what I said and how I behaved. Looking back, I’m sick to my stomach.”
Mr Connors said that as a Traveller, he has battled bigotry his whole life. “My deranged pursuit of Minister O’Gorman played a huge part in the homophobic backlash he received from the very bigots I despise,” he said.
Today, Mr O’Gorman said he accepted Mr Connors’ apology and wished him well.
I very much appreciate the statement and email from @johnconnors1990 The matter between us is fully resolved as far as I’m concerned. Take care of yourself John. https://t.co/22dc9St6Ri— Roderic O’Gorman TD (@rodericogorman) July 20, 2020
He tweeted: “The matter between us is fully resolved as far as I’m concerned. Take care of yourself John.”
Mr Connors said he will withdraw from social media to address his personal issues and concentrate on his acting career.