Panti expecting apology from RTÉ, asked to run for election

Rory O'Neill said he is expecting an apology from RTÉ after his appearance on The Saturday Night Show.

In an interview with Marian Finucane on RTÉ Radio 1, O'Neill – also known by his stage name, Panti – said he was expecting to receive an apology from the broadcaster, after they issued a separate apology for his remarks.

He claimed the broadcaster singled him out and isolated him. "What they made Brendan [the host] say was: 'it was nothing to do with us ... our views are not our guest's'," he said.

O'Neill also revealed in the interview that he had been approached by more than one political party to run for election, but declined to reveal which parties.

O'Neill's appearance on The Saturday Night Show in recent weeks has re-invigorated debate on gay rights, as his comments on homophobia led to solicitor's letters from several high-profile individuals, resulting in both an apology and payout by RTÉ.

Speaking about the recent controversy, Rory said his definition of homophobia would include those who actively campaign against equal rights for gay people.

He also drew a distinction between privately-held views and public campaigning in an active sense.

"When one drag queen spends 30 seconds on a light entertainment show giving my view on how I feel, then you run to your solicitor's skirts? That just seems so weirdly unfair," he said.

He also said he hopes the public controversy will be constructive.

"I'd like to think that this whole episode is some sort of watershed and will change things ... but I'm not a naive and arrogant to think that this is it.

"On a personal level, I am absolutely thrilled that a lobby group like [the Iona Institute] has had the light thrown on it."

He also encouraged the Government to introduce gay marriage "tomorrow", saying the "sky won't fall down" and that concerns over constitutionality of any such change could be cleared up in court.

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