'You're like a donkey in the last race' - Ross compares Sinn Fein TD to her 'thoroughbred' colleagues
TRANSPORT Minister Shane Ross has apologised for comparing a female TD to a “donkey” whom he contrasted with her “thoroughbred” colleagues.
"I' m sorry for any offence caused by my analogy. I was caught up in the heat of the debate," he said.
His comments followed a heated exchange in the Dáil on the issue of ‘green cards’ for drivers as proof of insurance in Northern Ireland in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Work is underway to strike a deal which would negate the need for such cards but nothing has yet been agreed.
Louth TD Imelda Munster criticised the minister’s record on his handling of the issue and said he is "completely blind to the sensitivities around this issue" for people living in the border regions.
"We had a very sensitive discussion here last night between two of your colleagues, Deputy Doherty and Deputy O'Snodaigh, about green cards," he said.
"I thought before you came in today, and you were late, that what they were doing was very constructive, they were representing their communities extraordinarily well.
"They were like thoroughbreds in a horse race. You came in, as you normally do, and you're like a donkey in the last race, at the last fence, and you upset the whole apple cart."
Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesman Robert Troy branded the comment “disgraceful”.
Amid protestations from the Leas Ceann Comhairle, Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher to use parliamentary language, Mr Ross said he was making an analogy and said Ms Munster had been personal in her contributions.
Ms Munster has now called on Mr Ross to apologise for the remarks and questioned what message it would send to women looking to enter politics.
Minister Ross was previously accused of being "asleep at the wheel" over the need for green cards.
Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty had said that people are "incredibly angry" at the impeding need for the card.
Mr Doherty accused transport minister Mr Ross of being "asleep at the wheel" on the issue and called on Mr Varadkar to intervene on the matter with the European Commission at "the highest level" to ensure it is resolved.