Northern Ireland

Tom Barry sorry for 'inappropriate' Dail lap incident

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Media captionThe footage shows Tom Barry pulling Áine Collins on to his lap

An Irish TD (member of parliament) has apologised for his "disrespectful and inappropriate" behaviour after he grabbed a female colleague in the Irish parliament and put her on his lap.

It happened at around 03:00 BST on Thursday during a break in a debate on changes to Ireland's abortion laws.

It was captured on the Dáil's camera.

The footage shows Tom Barry pulling Aine Collins on to his lap and Ms Collins getting up and walking away after a few seconds.

Image caption Tom Barry is TD for Cork East and Áine Collins is TD for Cork North West

Mr Barry said: "What I did last night was disrespectful and inappropriate.

"I have apologised to Áine Collins and she graciously and immediately accepted my apology. No excuses, I just shouldn't have done it."

The incident happened as TDs gathered in the chamber before a vote was due to take place.


Ms Collins, the TD for Cork North West, was seen talking to Mr Barry, the representative for Cork East. They were both elected to the Dáil for the first time in 2011.

Mr Barry then grabbed Ms Collins and put her on his lap, while appearing to talk to her. After a few seconds she got up and walked away up some stairs in the chamber.

A spokeswoman for Fine Gael said: "The incident was inappropriate and shouldn't have happened."

The incident happened as the abortion debate extended into the early hours of Thursday. The session was finally adjourned at 04:57 BST and is due to resume later on Thursday.

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