Thursday 17 October 2019

Fianna Fail candidate feels 'shame and regret' over 'striking out' at female friend at college

Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne
Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne
General view of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Photo: REUTERS
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

A Fianna Fail candidate running for the European Parliament has said he is "ashamed" of "striking out at" a female friend while in college.

Malcolm Byrne, who is running in the Ireland South constituency, was a 20-year-old student union leader at the time of the incident in 1994.

Mr Byrne, who was then an education officer with the Union of Students in Ireland, issued a public apology after the incident at a freshers ball.

In a newspaper report at the time, the then Ogra Fianna Fail member said he "felt great shame".

Yesterday, Mr Byrne told the Sunday Independent the incident has been a "source of shame and regret for me ever since".

"At a student party, I got involved in an argument with a friend and struck out at her," he said.

"I immediately took full responsibility for it at the time and apologised unreservedly to my friend, and publicly to the student community in UCD for my stupidity. This event took place at a difficult time in my life and was a catalyst for major personal change. This story has never been a secret, as reported in the Irish Press at the time and has occasionally resurfaced at elections since."

"This incident is a part of my life. I'm ashamed of it, but I accept responsibility for it," he added. In the Irish Press newspaper report of the incident, Mr Byrne said he considered resigning from his student union position afterwards.

However, he reconsidered and instead decided to issue a public apology to the woman involved.

"I do not want to bring any more pain to the student involved and we are both trying to come to terms with what happened," he told the newspaper at the time.

Sunday Independent

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