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I should have been fired, admits 'lapgate' TD

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Tom Barry pulled Aine Collins towards his lap on a night when the Dail bar stayed open until 5.30am

Tom Barry pulled Aine Collins towards his lap on a night when the Dail bar stayed open until 5.30am

Tom Barry pulled fellow TD Aine Collins onto his lap

Tom Barry pulled fellow TD Aine Collins onto his lap

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Tom Barry pulled Aine Collins towards his lap on a night when the Dail bar stayed open until 5.30am

THE Fine Gael TD who pulled a female colleague on to his lap during a Dail debate on abortion said he only had two drinks on the night in question.

Tom Barry said he deserved to be fired for doing "something stupid" last year when he dragged Aine Collins, a married mother of three, onto his lap at 2.40am in the Dail chamber on July 11 - the night of the abortion debate.

"Heading back to the hotel I knew when I got up in the morning the world would be a different place. I knew the world was going to attack me the following day. And it did," he said. "Spectacularly."

"It brought me to a point I had never been to. It almost de-constructed me. I'm naturally confident and good- humoured, but it just took me apart."

The East Cork TD said he only had two pints of Guinness on the night in question.

"I don't even drink spirits. I've never even been to any of those clubs," he said in reference to lap dancing clubs.

Mr Barry offered to quit both Fine Gael and the Dail after apologising to Ms Collins.

stupid

"I did something stupid and I deserved to be fired. I was not the victim."

Ms Collins, a TD for Cork North West, accepted Mr Barry's apology and he said they remain very good friends.

He rejects accusations of being sexist and does not think sexism exists in the Dail.

"I'm sorry but half my staff are women. I came from a family where the farm went to the women for the last four generations."

"I smile every now and again when I see female politicians trying to make a name for themselves saying, 'look how hard it is in our job and look what happens to us'. Make your reputation on your ability, don't try to make it on someone else's misfortune."

What about Fine Gael women who were overlooked for promotion during the cabinet reshuffle earlier this year?

"That's above my pay scale. I have no control over that. Everyone can be ambitious but you may not reach it for a number of reasons."

He believes Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald would make a great Taoiseach.

"Frances Fitzgerald would make a fantastic leader, a brilliant Taoiseach. She is an extremely capable person. One to watch. She has the blend of competency and likeability."

hnews@herald.ie


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