Gay Mitchell: P-P-P-Pick Me

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Fine Gael presidential candidate Gay Mitchell went on RTE R1’s Today with Pat Kenny (guest hosted by Myles Dungan) this morning.

On the agenda: gay marriage and his first cousin, crime boss George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell.

Myles Dungan: “In relation not specifically to Alveda King [relative of Martin Luther King and extreme right-wing catholic] – you’ve quite emphatically said that you do not agree with anybody who says God hates homosexuals – but people are asking would you be prepared to go a step further, and what is your attitude towards gay marriage?”

Gay Mitchell: “Well first of all I don’t want to do anything that weakens marriage. Secondly I supported partnership for gay people – no problem with that. And thirdly let the hare sit, let’s see if there’s any problems with this, how this works out.”

Dungan: “I think gay people certainly have identified serious problems in relation to children, in relation to adoption and issues like that.”

Mitchell: “Let’s not caricature gay people as being different than the rest of us. They’re not different than the rest of us. Gay people have different views about this.”

Dungan: “But they have different rights, this is what they say.”

Mitchell: “No, no, some of them…”

Dungan: “Lesser rights.”

Mitchell: “No no let’s, we, we shouldn’t be saying – we would never say, for example, heterosexual people say this or heterosexual people say that. There are people in the gay community that are quite happy that they’ve got, that this has been achieved. Now let’s, let the hare sit on this, let’s see how this works out, what problems there are with it, and let’s be reasonable and open-minded about it. But I do not want to do anything that will weaken marriage. Incidentally, because I support different forms of relationships – people who are single parents, people who are, people who are living in, in, in relations that they’re not married. But I think marriage is the ideal, and I think there’s something very supportive of my view that people think marriage is so worthwhile that they want to have it. I’m open-minded on the idea, in time – not now. I want to see how this…”

Dungan: “How does increasing the rights of people who are involved in civil partnership in relation to adoption, in relation to children… how does that weaken marriage?”

Mitchell: “I don’t know. and I’m not saying it weakens marriage. I don’t want to do anything that weakens marriage. I want to take our time about this. I supported, em, gay partnership.”

Dungan: “Civil partnership.”

Mitchell: “Civil partnership rather, on the basis that this was going to solve a problem. People asked for it and I supported it, and I have no misgivings about supporting it. Let’s just see how this works out and we’ll talk about where we go from here but let’s do it calmly let’s do it respectfully let’s do it by discussion.”

[Later]

Dungan: “Another question, from Eddie: ‘Can the candidate confirm whether or not he is the first cousin of George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell?’”

Mitchell: “I’m the first cousin of an ambassador, I’m the first cousin of people who’ve been involved in the security forces of the state, people who were married to the security forces of the state, people who were school principals, teachers, farmers. I’ve no responsibility for any of them and none of them have responsibility for me. And I think it’s actually not a proper question to be put to a candidate on a radio programme to be perfectly honest.”

Dungan: “But I mean is it, are you or are you not?”

Mitchell: “I don’t think you should put that question to me. This is a matter of record. I’ve nothing, nothing to do with my cousins. I have cousins who play international rugby for Ireland. None of them have anything to do with me.”

(Photocall Ireland/James M Chimney Productions)