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'I haven't a leg to stand on' - says TD behind muppet slur

DUBLIN TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor today spoke of her hurt after being branded 'Miss Piggy' by one of her Dail colleagues.

Independent TD Mick Wallace made the childish slur -- picked up by a Dail microphone -- to fellow TDs Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and Shane Ross.

Deputy Mitchell O'Connor told the Herald today: "Yes I was upset, as any woman would be."

"It says more about them than it does about me. I was upset but I'm moving on," she added.

Deputy Wallace apologised this morning, calling his comments "indefensible".

The Miss Piggy remark was made by Dail maverick Mick Wallace during a whispered conversation with deputies Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and Shane Ross.

But the trio didn’t realise that a nearby microphone was switched on and the comments were being broadcast all around Leinster House.

Amid joking and laughing, Deputy Wallace remarked on two occasions: “Miss Piggy has toned it down a bit.”

Deputy Flanagan replied: “That Mary Mitchell O’Connor one? I couldn’t remember her name on Vincent Browne… She’s the one who drove off the plinth. They’d want to ban her wearing pink.”

Dublin South TD Shane Ross then joined in, saying: “Oh yeah, that’s right. She’s nothing sensational. She normally wears the most garish colours.”

In response to the comments, Ms Mitchell O’Connor told the Herald that she would not be lowering herself to their level.

“I want this thing over today. The Cloyne report is coming out today and the economy is in trouble again. There are bigger things going on in this country.

“I got into politics to represent the people of Dun Laoghaire and that’s what I want to do without any of this rubbish.”

Mick Wallace apologised this morning saying: “It’s hard to defend the indefensible. It’s completely out of order.”

He explained that the Miss Piggy reference came because of the way The Muppets’ character “used to clobber people with her handbag”.

“I haven’t a leg to stand on,” he admitted.

Speaking on RTE’s John Murray Show, Wallace said: “I’ve no right to say something like that. I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve made a mistake. I hold my hands up.”

He said that he rang Ms Mitchell O’Connor this morning to apologise, adding that she was very upset.

The Herald understands that Chief Whip Paul Kehoe is investigation the matter and is likely to seek an apology in the Dail.

And the three TDs’ female colleagues rounded on them this morning.

Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne told the Herald that the comments showed the TDs needed to “grow up”.

“We are a in a national parliament, not a playground. Anybody who uses derogatory language like that should realise they need to grow up.”

People Before Profit TD Joan Collins said: “We are representing thousands of our constituents in the Dail and we need to be responsible in relation to what we say and do.”