Roderic O’Gorman eloquently responds to senator questioning funding of LGBTQ+ groups

The Minister was summoned to the Seanad by Senator Sharon Keogan, who took issue with the allocation of funding to LGBTQ+ organisations.

Roderic O'Gorman speaking in the Seanad today.
Image: Oireachtas Hourly Files

At a Seanad hearing on Wednesday, March 29, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, eloquently responded to Senator Sharon Keogan, who was questioning the politician’s allocation of funding to LGBTQ+ groups and projects.

Between 2021 and 2022, €1.1 million of unspent monies from certain governmental schemes were diverted to the LGBTI+ Community Services Funding Call, an initiative developed to support local queer organisations. Keogan appeared to take issue with this procedure, something that the Department has done on 25 separate occasions in the past 3 years, unrelated to the LGBTQ+ sector.

She asked, “Why were only LGBT organisations in receipt of the funding…Were there no other initiatives that would have benefited from this funding?”

The senator continued by claiming that there had been accusations made against the Minister of “having engaged in a sort of ideology-based parochialism, prioritising pet projects which fall under your government’s remit over others”.


O’Gorman, himself an openly gay man, responded to the suggestion, saying: “I’d like to address the disappointing inference made here that what is a standard and commonplace feature of departmental financial procedure is somehow, in this case, being described as an attempt by me to divert funding away from vulnerable groups.”

He continued: “The charge rests that I, as a gay politician, must be up to no good in an effort to benefit my own community, that I would go as far as to take funding away from other vulnerable groups to do so. This is an easy villain trope to peddle, and how shamelessly it is being done.”

The Minister reemphasised the point that this virement process has been undertaken 26 times since 2020, “and yet this instance is the instance that has been singled out”.

“And that is not by accident,” O’Gorman added. “And it has an impact.”

The Green Party member reminded Keogan of the level of abuse that he and other LGBTQ+ politicians have been receiving as of late, revealing that he has been targeted with vile insults labelling him as a “paedophile” and “groomer”. 

“Central to those allegations is the accusation that I’ve done something unfounded as regards funding,” he explained.

“And here I find myself, summoned by you, to account to this chamber on the premise of an absolute lie…There’s no possible genuine concern here. You know the budgetary process, you know how it works, and frankly, I think you should know better.”

When pressed again by Senator Keogan about why LGBTQ+ organisations were the beneficiaries of this particular reallocation of funding, O’Gorman rebutted, “Why is this the only one you’re asking me about?” and once again referenced the 25 other cases of this process from the past three years.

“I know the reason, and you know the reason,” he continued, and after referencing Keogan’s International Women’s Day speech, he said, “I have a voice too, and I won’t allow an assertion like this be put against me.”

The Commencement Matter was thus concluded with no further responses.

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