Charlie Flanagan said the laws denied people "the ability to live openly or without fear"

The Justice Minister has issued an apology to everyone affected by Ireland's historical criminalisation of homosexuality.

This Sunday marks 25 years since a law was passed which stopped homosexuality being illegal in Ireland.

Between 1962 and 1972, 455 men were convicted for homosexual offences, while nearly 500 were jailed between 1940 and 1980.

Tonight, an all-party motion will be brought before the Dail so TDs can apologise to those who suffered.

Speaking in the Seanad, Charlie Flanagan has said sorry for the "isolation, hurt and stigma" created by the laws.

He said: "[The laws] denied the LGBTI community the ability to live openly or without fear, which denied them the ability to engage actively in civil and public life, and which suggested that society did not value or even tolerate them, simply because of their sexual orientation.

“As Minister for Justice and Equality, I extend a sincere apology to all of those people, to their family, and to their friends. To any person who felt the hurt and isolation created by those laws, and particularly to those who those who were criminally convicted by the existence of such laws.”

Senator David Norris - one of those who led the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality - spoke in the Seanad this afternoon.

He said: "I remember [Catholic campaigner] Mina Bean Uí Chroibín saying to me, 'We know you, you won't be satisfied with homosexual decriminalisation; the next thing you will want is homosexual marriage'.

"So I said, 'what a wonderful idea.Thank you very much Madame, if you have any further ideas please do let me know.'"