David Norris, the openly gay frontrunner in Ireland's presidential campaign, says his campaign has been sabotaged in a radio interview by a writer who brought up a 10-year-old quote in order to link his sexuality to pedophilia.
In the article, Mr Norris is reported as saying: "I cannot understand how anybody could find children of either sex in the slightest bit attractive sexually … but in terms of classic paedophilia, as practised by the Greeks, for example, where it is an older man introducing a younger man to adult life, there can be something said for it. Now, again, this is not something that appeals to me.
"Although, when I was younger, I would have greatly relished the prospect of an older, attractive, mature man taking me under his wing, lovingly introducing me to sexual realities, treating me with affection, teaching me about life."
But forced to go on RTE Radio's Today With Pat Kenny show to defend himself, Mr Norris said he was having an academic discussion over dinner about ancient Greece at the time.
The word paedophilia should never have been in the interview, as he was talking about "paiderastia" – relations between men and boys – of the ancient Greeks as part of a hypothetical, intellectual conversation, he said.
The writer, restaurant critic Helen Lucy Burke, lifted the quotes from an article she wrote about Norris a decade ago for Magill magazine. Norris claims the magazine never reprinted corrections he had made to proofs he was shown and challenged Burke to air her recording of the interview.
"Mr Norris said he has been a vocal advocate in the Seanad, Ireland's upper house, and at United Nations level, for the rights of children and women who suffer sexual exploitation."