Alliance Party Executive Director Gerry Lynch has confirmed with staff in Hansard that Iris Robinson was correctly quoted as saying “There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children” at the Northern Ireland Grand Committee on 17th June.
Gerry Lynch said: “We have checked this matter with Hansard. The Hansard staff, having reviewed the recordings of the 17th June Grand Committee meeting, are satisfied that they quoted Mrs. Robinson accurately. Her statement claiming that she may have been misquoted, issued earlier today, has now been shown up as speculative and incorrect.
“Mrs. Robinson now needs to admit that what was reported is correct and issue an immediate apology and retraction, both for what she said about gay people and to the Hansard staff whose professional competence she called into question.
“I believe in a broad interpretation of freedom of speech. I support people’s right to say things that others may consider offensive, as long as they do not drift into the territory of incitement.
“However, freedom of speech comes with responsibilities. I accept that Iris Robinson may not have intended to imply that homosexuality is worse that paedophilia. But she should be mature enough to accept that she made a mistake rather than shovelling blame on to other people who were just doing their job. Indeed, she should also accept that even bringing gay people into a discussion about paedophiles was deeply wrong. In any normal society, Iris Robinson’s comments would be grounds for resignation.
“Moreover, it is now high time for Iris Robinson to end her crusade against the gay community. She likes to lecture others on morality. Her own comments and behaviour are immoral in a way that nothing that consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes ever could be.”