Labour accuses Flanagan of sexist comment about rival
INDEPENDENT TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan faced the ire of the Labour Party after claiming that his constituency rival Lorraine Higgins only wanted to get to Europe to "look good".
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Independent Senator Marie Louise O'Donnell and the Labour Women group all rounded on him for his comments.
Mr Flanagan and Ms Higgins are contesting the Midlands-Northwest constituency of the European Parliament elections.
In Galway, Mr Gilmore refrained from directly identifying Mr Flanagan in his comments but left nobody in any doubt as to whom he was referring to when he said: "This is no time to be sending entertainers to Europe."
Mr Gilmore said that investors were now looking at Ireland and would pay attention to the types of people that we send to represent us in Europe.
"They look beyond the obvious headline numbers and the obvious economic indicators. They look at how we view ourselves and what we think about ourselves," he said.
And Labour Women issued a statement calling for Mr Flanagan to "withdraw his remark that Lorraine Higgins only wanted to get to Europe to look good", which was made during an RTE 'Drivetime' debate.
"Labour Women is calling on Ming to apologise for his comments to Lorraine and withdraw this sexist remark immediately," they said.
Mr Flanagan did not return calls for comment last night.
Mr Gilmore insisted that Ms Higgins and Labour's other candidates, Emer Costello in Dublin and Phil Prendergast in Ireland South, can all win seats, despite the disappointing recent opinion poll findings.
"An opinion poll is like a still – it tells you exactly what is happening at that particular moment in time," he said.
The Tanaiste added: "Does it give you the full picture? It certainly doesn't tell you how the story is going to end. In politics, it's the ending that matters."