Tuesday 11 December 2018

Fianna Fáil councillor apologises after telling Coppinger to 'keep your clothes on - please'

Ruth Coppinger and Patrick McKee, who has apologised
Ruth Coppinger and Patrick McKee, who has apologised
Ruth Coppinger and Patrick McKee, who has apologised
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A Fianna Fáil councillor has apologised "unreservedly" to TD Ruth Coppinger for a tweet which ended: "Please just keep your clothes on."

Paddy McKee, who ran for Renua Ireland in the last general election, made the comment while watching a debate on whether boxing should ban 'ring girls'. The women generally wear bikinis and carry signs showing the round number during boxing matches.

Ms Coppinger took part in a television debate to argue that the practice should be ended. In response to her comments, the Kilkenny councillor tweeted: "We live in a 'reasonably' liberal democracy. If women want to wear a bikini & take part in sporting events let them.

"It has nothing to do with you Ruth Coppinger. Please just keep your clothes on. Please."

Ms Coppinger responded: "It's ironic that he engages in a debate about misogyny with a misogynistic comment. It shows the level of sexist abuse that is out there. If a councillor is tweeting a TD like that, you can really see what women generally are exposed to for daring to express a view."

When contacted about the tweet by the Irish Independent, Mr McKee initially said he was "simply expressing an opinion".

"Ruth Coppinger has taken a position that women should be told what to wear and not wear," he said, adding that it was a case of "the PC brigade gone mad".

However, a short time later he changed position having had "a bit more time to think".

"It's clear that the tweet caused offence. The last line was somewhat personal," he said.

"I unreservedly apologise to Ruth Coppinger and will withdraw the tweet."

Mr McKee added that his earlier comments "were out of character".

Irish Independent

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