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Former Fine Gael TD apologises for offensive comment at party meeting

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John V. Farrelly

John V. Farrelly

John V. Farrelly

A former Fine Gael TD has apologised for an offensive comment made at a party meeting and stepped aside as chair of the local organisation in Meath.

John V Farrelly, who was a Fine Gael TD for Meath from 1981 to 1992 and 1997 to 2002, has issued a statement this afternoon after Fine Gael said earlier it was investigating allegations that a party member in Meath referred to its former councillor Gillian Toole as "the n****r in the woodpile" and "the f***ing bitch" at a meeting in Kells on Monday night.

Following queries about the remarks, Mr Farrelly issued a statement this afternoon in which he categorically denied he said "f**king bitch" during the meeting on Monday.

His statement reads: "I wish to publicly put on record that I apologise unreservedly, as I did on the night during the meeting and subsequently following the conclusion of the meeting, for any offence that has been caused by my comments.

"I am fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation that is being conducted by Fine Gael HQ, following last Monday nights Kells District AGM. 

"I have stepped aside from my role as Chairperson of the Meath East Constituency, pending the outcome of the investigation. I apologise profusely for using a metaphor that has caused offence and hurt, as this was not my intention.

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Independent politician Gillian Toole

Independent politician Gillian Toole

Independent politician Gillian Toole

"I categorically deny saying 'fXXX bitch' during the course of the private meeting. I also wish to put on record that I hold Councillor Gillian Toole with the highest regard and always have done."

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