A Fianna Fail candidate has refused to apologise for liking a tweet calling the Sinn Fein president a “c***”.
Thomas Byrne, a candidate for Meath East and the party’s education spokesman, liked a tweet on Thursday morning that read: “Talk about making a complete ‘c***’ of yourself @MaryLouMcDonald,” and included the hashtag #IRAexposed.
The tweet was later removed from Mr Byrne’s “like” list.
He was asked a number of times by the PA news agency if he wished to apologise to Ms McDonald, and refused.
It’s not a word I would use ever about anyone and I didn’t use it and would never use itThomas Byrne
“The tweet shouldn’t have been liked in any circumstance and once it was pointed out to me it was removed,” he said.
“It’s not a word I would use ever about anyone and I didn’t use it and would never use it.
“That’s all I have to say, it was immediately unliked.”
A Sinn Fein spokesman called on Mr Byrne to apologise, adding that the incident sends the wrong message to women wishing to get involved in politics.
What does it say to young women who are considering getting involved in politics?Sinn Fein
“This tweet is disgusting and misogynistic and it highlights all that is wrong with social media,” he said.
“What does it say to young women who are considering getting involved in politics when they can not only be abused in such a manner on social media, but that it would be cheered on by a senior male member of one of the largest parties?
“Deputy Byrne should comment on this matter.
“He should apologise for encouraging such online behaviour and make it clear that tweets such as this are not acceptable.
“Micheal Martin should also make it clear that he does not accept this type of online behaviour from Fianna Fail election candidates.”