Saturday 25 November 2017

TD's wife: 'You're a big eejit'

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE FINE Gael TD who pulled a female colleague on to his lap during an early morning Dail debate on abortion has been called a "big eejit" by his wife.

Tom Barry said he was "mortified" and "sick to his stomach" that he had embarrassed his friend and colleague, Aine Collins, his wife and family as well as his party.

The 44-year-old revealed his wife, Dr Kathy Quane, had taken a dim view of the matter.

"I spoke to my wife this morning and all she said to me was: 'You big eejit.' I feel so embarrassed," he added.

Mr Barry, a married father of three, said he was "shocked" that the incident was being seen as sexist when it had been intended, albeit foolishly, as horseplay.

"It should never have happened. I would be the very first one to say that. I feel very upset that it is being described as that (sexist). I didn't intend to offend anyone and I can't offer any excuse other than to put it down to stupidity, naivety and inexperience.

"Something like this has never happened to me before and I can promise will never happen again. I consider Aine Collins a good friend, I have apologised and she has accepted my apology," he said.

"It was such a stupid, stupid thing to do. There are absolutely no excuses and I am mortified for my friend, Aine Collins, my family, my friends and my party," Mr Barry said.

The Cork East TD, who was elected in 2011, said he was "shocked" by the footage.

It was absolutely inappropriate what happened. However, such an incident has never happened before and I can promise will never happen again."

However, it has emerged that the 44-year old politician had just three hours' sleep over the previous 36 hours.

"I had travelled to the Dail from Cork for the debate but, unfortunately, the fire alarm had gone off several times in the city centre hotel where I was staying so I ended up being awake for most of the night," he said.

Irish Independent

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