Magherafelt councillor will face calls to retract ‘homosexuality should not be legal’ comment

Cllr Paul McLean
Cllr Paul McLean

A DUP representative will face calls to retract controversial comments made about homosexuality at tonight’s main council meeting in Dungannon.

A motion in tonight’s council agenda by Councillor Caoimhe O’Neill asks that Mid Ulster Council “condemns with deep regret” comments made by Paul McLean last month in a daily newspaper.

Same-sex debate

Same-sex debate

Councillor Paul McLean declined to comment before the meeting of the council tonight (Thursday), but admitted that has already prepared a statement to outline his stance.

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He was quoted in the Irish News last month as saying that he believed homosexuality should not be legal in Northern Ireland.

Mr McLean, who leads his party on Mid Ulster Council, said he took the ‘biblical perspective’ on the issue, when interviewed in the wake of the resignation of Health Minister Jim Wells.

Sinn Féin councillor, Caoimhe O’Neill, speaking in advance of her motion said: “It is regrettable that in the opening years of the 21st Century that I must table a motion to rebuke the DUP’s Paul McLean for his most unhelpful and insensitive comments.

“Our LGBT community in Mid-Ulster like elsewhere contribute so much in terms of positivity to our community and they deserve respect.

“We should always remember the unseen devastation that has been caused by prejudice against the gay community.

“The sense of isolation, self-harm, the suicide rate amongst many young gay people is something that must be tackled once and for all.

“Attempts by Sinn Féin to introduce marriage equality in the North have been repeatedly blocked by the main unionist parties while the SDLP and Alliance have sat on the fence.

“I echo the weekend comments by Amnesty International’s Patrick Corrigan that the North is the last bastion of discrimination against gay people in these islands.

“The SDLP and Alliance Party must get their act together.”