Parade MC sorry for telling Girl Guides to 'go home and make lunch'
A cinema owner has come under criticism after telling members of the Irish Girl Guides to "go home and make lunch" at a local St Patrick's Day parade.
Graham Spurling, whose family owns numerous multiplexes around the country, made the comments as the MC of the Greystones parade in Co Wicklow.
The Chief Commissioner of the Irish Girl Guides, Helen Concannon, said she was shocked by the comments.
"Such outdated and misogynistic remarks made so openly at a public event, even in the guise of so-called humour, are completely out of place in the 21st century and go against all that our organisation is striving to achieve," Ms Concannon said on social media.
Girl Guides had chosen gender equality as their theme for St Patrick's Day. The group of girls between the ages of five and 14 walked the parade in Greystones carrying posters which read: 'Girl Power', 'Equal Rights' and the Girl Guides' tagline, 'Giving Girls Confidence'.
They sang a song as they marched, which included the lyrics: "Can a woman fly an aeroplane? Yes, she can, yes, she can! Can a woman build a building? Yes, she can, yes, she can!"
When the song finished, Mr Spurling asked the crowd: "Can a woman go home now and make the lunch? Can a woman do the ironing?"
Mr Spurling unreservedly apologised for his remarks, describing them as "tongue-in-cheek".
"I did make the poorly chosen, ill-advised and inappropriate remarks regarding 'cooking and ironing'," he told the Irish Independent. "I accept without reserve and apologise for my tongue-in-cheek comments that were only intended to be in jest."
A spokesperson for the Irish Girl Guides told the Irish Independent the group has accepted the apology but wants people to learn from the experience.
Chair of Greystones Parade Committee Grainne McLoughlin told the Irish Independent: "Even the best of us can say stupid things at times, but that doesn't mean that we can't be forgiven and allowed to move on."