An Irish bishop who compared homosexuality to Down’s syndrome has defended his remarks.

The Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, made the claim earlier this week, ahead of the Spring Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

When questioned as to whether he believed being born gay was as God intended Doran responded: “That would be to suggest that if some people are born with Down’s syndrome or Spina Bifida, that that was what God intended either.”

He went on to say of gay and straight marriage: “One […] is of its very nature, directed towards the upbringing, the care of children, and one which isn’t and they can’t be said to be the same.”

He apologised today for “hurt” that was caused by his comments –

He said in a statement: “I believe that every person is willed by God and loved by God. I simply don’t believe that God micromanages the universe in such detail.

“I regret any hurt that may have been caused either by what I actually said or by how it was presented by others.

“I referred in the interview to the way in which the Children and Family Relationships Bill sets out to broaden the legal definition of parents (and systematically removes the words “mother” and “father” from previous legislation.

“In that context I commented that people who have children are not necessarily parents.”