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Mail on Sundayl
8 June 2008

Northern Ireland’s first lady is being investigated by police following allegations she committed a hate crime by launching a withering attack on homosexuality.

Iris Robinson referred to gays as ‘disgusting, loathsome and shamefully wicked’ during a live phone-in on BBC Radio Ulster

In an outburst on a live phonein on BBC Radio Ulster on Friday, Iris Robinson, the 57-year-old wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, referred to gays as ‘disgusting, loathsome, shamefully wicked and vile.’

She called homosexuality ‘an abomination’ but said she knew of a cure.

‘I have a lovely psychiatrist who works with me and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals – trying to turn them away from what they are engaged in,’ she said.

Now Andrew Muir, 31-year-old co-ordinator of the pressure group Gays and Lesbians Across (County) Down, has made a formal complaint to police.

He said last night: ‘They were reluctant to pursue the matter until I told them it was covered by the hate crimes legislation and I would not be leaving until they took a statement from me.’

5 June 2008

North Belfast loyalist Ihab Shoukri has been jailed for 15 months for his role in a UDA show of strength at a bar.

Ihab Shoukri had pleaded guilty to UDA membership

Shoukri, 34, from Westland Drive, admitted being a member of the UDA and supporting the loyalist paramilitary organisation.

Gary McKenzie, 36, from Clare Heights, Belfast, was also jailed for 15 months on the same charges.

The judge told Belfast Crown Court the peace process had saved the men from lengthy jail sentences.

Shoukri and five other men were arrested at the Alexandra Bar in York Street in March 2006.

Two other defendants, Alan McClean, 21, of Westland Drive, and George McHenry, 46, from Ardoyne Road were each given a 12-month suspended sentence.

The then-owner of the bar, John Davis, 50, of Glebe Manor, was given a two-year probation order and told to attend alcohol rehabilitation sessions.

Jailing Shoukri and McKenzie, the judge said while the courts sentenced according to the law, “that exercise does not take place in a vacuum”.

“In my view it would be unrealistic for the court to close its eyes to the significant changes that have taken place in this society since these offences were committed,” he said.

“It is indisputable that the restoration of local political institutions, upon an agreed basis, has coincided with the fundamental decline, if not virtual disappearance, of overt terrorist activity carried on by republican and loyalist paramilitaries.”

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile


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