December 16, 2019
News

Former Kilkenny councillor lodges complaint to gardai over friar’s ‘inciteful’ gay ‘zombie’ comments

By COLIN BARTLEY

A CRIMINAL complaint has been made to local gardai by a former Kilkenny city councillor over the controversial homily by a Capuchin Friar that compared gay people to “spiritual zombies” that have been infected.

Former Fianna Fail councillor Patrick McKee made the complaint to gardai in Kilkenny yesterday evening.

Speaking to KilkennyNow.ie today, Mr McKee said he believed the cleric’s comments amounted to “hate speech”.

He added: “There are no specific laws in Ireland regarding hate-speech, so I believe it will be investigated under incitement to hatred.”

Mr McKee is currently practicing law in Dublin and believes the authorities must act on incidents of this nature.

He told KilkennyNow.ie: “I believe it is important that the civil authorities in this country are seen to act on issues concerning hate speech. I feel the authorities have not been robust enough in this regard, so I believe it is important the authorities do act on this occasion.”

Mr McKee (pictured below), who is himself a member of the LGBTQ community, said he was horrified by the comments made by Fr Tom Forde (main picture) last Saturday. In his homily, the Capuchin Friar compared homosexuals and supporters of abortion, contraception and euthanasia to “spiritual zombies”.


Mr McKee said: “The comments made by Father Tom Forde on the alter were disgusting, inciteful and destructive. I read the extracts from the post on his blog, and I was contacted by someone in the city that was very upset by Fr Tom’s comments.

“I am a member of the LBGTQ community and there have been many incidents, both physical and verbal that have happened in Kilkenny and in Ireland over the last number of months against people in the community. And we have seen the high-profile incident in London lately also. These incidents are becoming more commonplace.

“It cannot be tolerated. On occasions like this, whether it is from the clergy, a lawyer, anyone – it’s simply not ok and  whoever speaks in this way must be held accountable.

“We within the LGBTQ community, we can never allow ourselves to think that everything is OK, despite all the progress of recent years. Incidents like this  show it is not OK and we have to still stand up for our rights,” Mr McKee added.

However, Mr McKee was also quick to praise the hugely positive work that the Capuchin Friars have done throughout Kilkenny “over centuries”.

He added: “My family and I all attended their friary. In all that time they have shown the people of the city and county that they are a sympathetic order with great empathy. It would be terrible if one incident by one individual undid all of their great work.”

The controversial homily delivered in Kilkenny last weekend made headlines across the world this week.

On Wednesday, a member of the public placed a Rainbow flag on the altar of the Capuchin Friary. Amnesty International Ireland’s Colm O’Gorman has also spoken out against the comments.

Yesterday the Bishop of Ossory Dermot Farrell issued a statement in which he expressed his “sadness” at the “inappropriate comments” made in Fr Forde’s homily.

 

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