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Tuesday 17 September 2019

David Norris has public row with Senator over ‘fanny’ comments

Senator David Norris
Senator David Norris
Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins
Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

SENATOR David Norris has had a public row in Leinster House with Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins after she asked him to apologise for his “fanny” comments

The controversial Senator has been at the centre of a storm this week after he accused Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty of “talking through her fanny” in relation to the abolition of the Seanad. He later withdrew his remarks and said he regretted "any offence" he caused, but did not directly apologise to Ms Doherty.

But just after 2pm today, Mr Norris was challenged by Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins to apologise to Ms Doherty for his comments. There were heated scenes between the two as they walked along the corridors of Leinster House, with Mr Norris refusing to apologise.

Ms Higgins said he had repeatedly used the word “fanny” to her - and told her that his aristocratic granny used to use that word all the time. “I told him that all I wanted him to do was to apologise for using that word. It’s unacceptable language,” she said.

The row ended when Ms Higgins walked off in another direction to go to a nearby bathroom in Leinster House. But when she returned to the same spot a few minutes later, Mr Norris was talking to a journalist and said that it had been a “private conversation”.

However, Ms Higgins told the Irish Independent it had not been private because it was carried out in the full earshot of everyone in Leinster House at the time.

An onlooker said that it could best characterised as a "heated encounter" between the two politicians.

He said that Mr Norris had said he did not want to be offensive to women, while Ms Higgins said she only wanted an apology.

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