An Irish singer whose video portraying an anti-gay attack went viral last year has opened up about ‘appalling’ religious homophobia.

Hozier reached number 1 on the Irish iTunes chart last year with the track, Take Me To Chuch, which is critical of the church’s attitude to homosexuality.

To date it has received nearly 4 million views on YouTube.

He told the Evening Standard: “The song is about loving somebody, and the video is about people who would undermine what it is to love somebody.

“I’d been following what was going on in Russia, where far-Right groups were doing these organised attacks, filming them and putting them on social media.

“The damage done by the Church to the people of Ireland is completely irreparable, and the reparations are all too few. There’s still a lack of will to turn around and say, ‘This is not OK’.

“Why is it an organisation that is considered to have any moral standing at all? The track record is just appalling.

“It’s important to remember that it can happen anywhere. It’s very easy for a society to fall into hatefulness, to scapegoat people, especially when times get tough.

“If you can do a song like that right, you won’t sound like a preachy d***head.

“I have huge respect for Paul Weller, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder — people who wrote about their own times and did it well.

“I always stand by the song and the point that the video made, so it’s never a chore.”

He added that he does not identify as gay, “but that’s not the f***ing point”.

Watch the video for Take Me To Church below (Warning: Homophobic violence):