Partner of late MP David Cairns told to ask Catholic Church for apology

The partner of the late MP David Cairns has been told he will only receive a personal apology over remarks by the incoming Archbishop of Glasgow if he asks for one.

Dermot Kehoe said he had been offered a "non-apology apology" after Bishop Philip Tartaglia insinuated that Mr Cairns's death at the age of 44 was linked to his sexuality.

Mr Kerhoe said he had been angered by press reports that the archbishop-elect had agreed to meet him, insisting no approach had been made.

Mr Cairns, who served as a priest before becoming Labour MP for Inverclyde, died from pancreatic cancer in May 2011.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church confirmed that Bishop Tartaglia would not approach Mr Kehoe, but would respond to any approach from him.

The row centres on remarks made by the archbishop-elect at a conference at Oxford University in April, when he raised concerns about the "physical and mental health of gay men".

"Recently in Scotland there was a gay Catholic MP who died at the age of 44 or so and nobody said anything. And why his body should just shut down at that age?

"Obviously he could have had a disease that would have killed anybody but you seem to hear so many stories about this kind of thing, but society won't address it."

Bishop Tartaglia later offered a "general apology" to "everybody who has taken offence" at his remarks.

'What children say'

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said: "The archbishop-elect has said he will be amenable to meeting with (Mr Kehoe). The meeting will be in private and will take place after the current media storm has passed.

"The bishop will not be approaching (Mr Kehoe). He will respond to the approach but won't make his own approach."

Mr Kehoe said: "He is saying there will be a meeting when things have all died down. He may want people to think that but it is simply not true.

"If he invited me to a meeting I would come to a meeting, private or otherwise, but he simply hasn't.

"His apology was that: he was taken out of context and didn't mean to cause offence but if anyone has taken offence I apologise for that.

"That's a non-apology apology. That's what children say: I didn't do it but I apologise if people were foolish enough to be offended by it."

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