Law Library
Four Courts
Monday 6th July, 2020

Dear Deputy,

I write to you with a heavy heart.

What follows in this letter is something that causes me acute distress. To be frank, I find it difficult to take on board what has become of my beloved country. I no longer recognize it.

More particularly, in this letter, I refer to developments of a political nature. I see that Dr Roderic O’Gorman has recently become the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration. This seems very strange to me.

Dr O’Gorman presents himself as a gay person. That is very much his own business. There is a dimension to this, however, that is of legitimate public interest and concern. Dr O’Gorman included a photograph in his Twitter account in 2018 that related to a gay pride event. Those featured most directly in the photograph are Dr O’Gorman, Mr Peter Tatchell and an unnamed lady. The difficulty here is as follows. Mr Tatchell has in addition to being a gay activist called for the age of consent in the UK to be reduced to fourteen years. That is concerning.

Mr Tatchell in his public utterances states that he does not condone adults having sex with children. This was not always his position. In 1997, he wrote a letter to the Guardian newspaper defending an academic book about “boy-love” and called the work “courageous.” He also wrote the following in the same piece:

“The positive nature of some child–adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy. While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.”

Mr Tatchell wrote an obituary in The Independent (the London newspaper) for the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) founder Ian Dunn. In addition, he contributed an essay for the pro-paedophile activist and Paedophile Information Exchange member Warren Middleton in the book “Betrayal of Youth.” Mr Tatchell has since said that he would not have written the obituary on Ian Dunn if, at the time, he had known about Dunn’s PIE work.

Mr Tatchell is, for someone of a reflective nature, an altogether perplexing being. I humbly submit to you that he is an unsuitable person for anyone to have associations with.

It is particularly concerning that Dr O’Gorman, as someone already in public life, should have agreed to a photo of himself alongside Mr Tatchell. It is even more concerning that Dr O’Gorman then chose to showcase the photo in his Twitter account. It was, at a minimum, a monumental error of judgment on his part. For those who wish to be harsh, a far darker interpretation of the event might be employed.

I really think that Dr O’Gorman should now resign. I consider him unsuitable for the office of Minister for Children. In any event, I see it as a duty of all members of the Oireachtas now to earnestly and persistently request him to do so.

The Irish Nation in the great majority of cases care about their children. Cruelty to children fills us with righteous anger. As a people, we may be flawed, but we are not, in most instances, evil. Children have constitutional rights in this jurisdiction. Ireland is, moreover, a signatory of international treaties regarding the protection of children.

Most of us do care. Let us act on our principles.


Yours very truly,

Edmund Shanahan PhD, BL


The National Party received this letter from Dr Edmund Shanahan who is a member of the Law Library. At his request we publish it here.

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