GREEN Party TD Paul Gogarty was attacked on live radio yesterday and accused of putting his party before his 18-month-old child after he brought her to a press conference.
His daughter Daisy sat on his knee during the 20-minute briefing on Monday when party leader John Gormley announced the Greens were calling for a general election.
But Mr Gogarty, famous for his political gaffes, incurred the wrath of the Irish public for his decision --and RTE's 'Liveline' programme was inundated with calls yesterday.
He explained on the programme that he was caught without a babysitter when the conference was called at short notice. But this fell on deaf ears.
Most of the callers disagreed with his decision and many said the ill-advised judgment has put Ireland's already tarnished reputation back on the international stage.
He said he felt it was better to keep his daughter in his own hands rather than hand her over to a stranger. But that only fuelled the fury of a working mother who explained she has no choice but to pay a childminder when she goes out to work.
Mr Gogarty pointed out that if he hadn't attended the conference the media would have read into it that he didn't support the party decision.
When the programme's presenter Joe Duffy pointed out that firemen, guards, and others can't bring their children to work, Mr Gogarty stood firm and said he did not regret his decision. He is no stranger to controversy.
His "f**k you" response to Emmet Stagg in the Dail last year has become popular on YouTube. Mr Gogarty was later forced to apologise for the unparliamentary language.
Eyebrows were also raised earlier this year when Fine Gael's Tom Sheahan inaccurately quoted Mr Gogarty, a father of two, as being '25pc gay'.
Mr Gogarty explained later that he said in a 'Hot Press' magazine interview that he used to joke about being 25pc gay because of the way he dressed in the 1980s.
Yesterday, Mr Gogarty told the Irish Independent he was overwhelmed by the 'Liveline' programme.
"I was upset by the rant-fest that went on. I don't regret my decision. I got many texts in support of my decision."