Green turns web blue with online rant over road policy
Published 15/04/2010 | 05:00
A MAYOR has been forced to apologise for using the word "knobheads" in a Facebook post expressing his frustration over a U-turn on his city's one-way system.
The remark by Green councillor Malcolm Noonan is the latest in a series of high-profile outbursts by prominent party members.
Mayor of Kilkenny city, Mr Noonan finished off a late-night Facebook post on Monday with the word "knobheads" after fellow councillors voted to suspend much of a one-way system in the city centre.
His online rant follows recent controversy over party chairman Dan Boyle's internet twitterings -- believed to have played a role in Willie O'Dea's resignation from Cabinet -- while backbench TD Paul Gogarty was in the mire after twice shouting "f**k you" to Labour's Emmet Stagg in the Dail.
Meanwhile, Ciaran Cuffe found himself recently appointed minister of state despite referring to his Fianna Fail coalition partners as "gobsh***s" last year and declaring in 2007 that any deal with Fianna Fail was "a deal with the devil".
Mr Noonan yesterday said he was "exhausted and frustrated" when he made his Facebook comment on Monday night, expressing disappointment that the council had "caved in" on the one-way system.
"I just signed it off 'knobheads'," he said.
The Kilkenny mayor denied he was referring to objectors to the scheme or to his council counterparts when he wrote his post, which has since been taken down from the Facebook site.
"It was a derogatory, off-the-cuff comment," he insisted.
"I don't even know who I was referring to. I was probably referring to us as a collective."
He apologised "unreservedly" for any offence caused and admitted that the remark was "not respectful" to the office of mayor, but said that he had not had any complaints about the post.
"I tend not to use Facebook for political purposes. Sometimes it is hard not to get drawn into arguments when a post goes up. I was extremely annoyed over the way the meeting was conducted."
Kilkenny's one-way system was introduced last Monday week in a bid to ease traffic congestion on some of the narrow city centre streets.
But the scheme had already drawn heavy criticism from retailers and motorists and after just six days much of the policy was reversed at Monday night's city council meeting.