Graham Norton has criticised Irish broadcaster RTÉ for paying €85,000 in damages to an anti-gay marriage group, after a drag artist labelled them “homophobes”.

Panti Bliss (Rory O’Neill) made the comments about the Catholic lobbying group Iona Institute, which aims to “promote the place of marriage and religion in society”, on the Saturday Night Show last month.

Yesterday, it was reported that broadcaster RTÉ paid damages to the group and associated individuals in an out of court settlement.

BBC presenter Graham Norton tweeted his support for Panti following her heartwarming speech at the Abbey Theatre on Saturday.

Norton commented that he found RTÉ’s decision to pay damages to the group “unbelievable”.

Irish Communications Minister Pat Rabbite yesterday warned against using the term “homophobe” to describe opponents of equal marriage.

He said: “It is too loaded a term to be used to categorise those who hold contrary views on what is a matter for legitimate public debate”.