An Irish MP caught on camera allegedly sexually harassing a female coworker on the parliament floor has sparked declarations that Ireland’s Parliament is an ‘unfriendly’ place for women.
After Irish lawmakers held an all-night debate to pass new legislation allowing women to obtain an abortion if their lives are at risk, Irish politician Tom Barry grabbed his colleague and friend Aine Collins and pulled her onto his lap.
The footage, which was caught on parliament security camera, has gone viral and caused outrage, with the National Women’s Council describing Irish politics as a “woman-unfriendly place”.
The Irish Independent reports that Barry has since apologised, calling his actions “disrespectful and inappropriate” and admitting he had been drinking before the incident.
“I have apologised to Aine Collins and she graciously and immediately accepted my apology. No excuses, I just shouldn’t have done it,” he said.
He also denied claims that his behaviour was sexist, saying he was “shocked” by the label.
“I feel very upset that it is being described as [sexist]. I didn¹t intend to offend anyone and I can¹t offer any excuse other than to put it down to stupidity, naivety and inexperience.