Michael Colgan apology rejected as ‘pathetic’ by accusers

‘Misjudged behaviour’ a claim ‘very feeble response. . . it puts the fault back on us’

An apology from former Gate Theatre director Michael Colgan for "misjudged behaviour" has been dismissed by his accusers as "pathetic" and an attempt to minimise the suffering he caused.

On Sunday, Mr Colgan wrote an article for the Sunday Independent newspaper stating he was "deeply distressed" that there were moments in his career where "through misjudged behaviour, I caused upset to some of my co-workers".

He was writing in response to claims by seven former workers at the Gate of inappropriate behaviour including highly sexualised comments, frequent inappropriate touching and bullying inside and outside the workplace.

Earlier this month, one former employee told The Irish Times Mr Colgan remarked he could "talk down to anyone with a womb", while another said he slapped her on the backside so hard it left a red mark.


In his article, Mr Colgan said “the seed of the problem” lay in the blurred lines between his work life and his social life. He said he has only now realised his behaviour caused upset to staff.

“I think it’s pathetic. It’s classic Michael,” said one of his former employees who has made allegations against him and who asked to be identified as Mary.

‘Barrage of abuse’

“It’s a very, very feeble response. In a very Michael way it puts the fault back on us. We couldn’t take the joke. Of course we had to be friendly to him, of course we sometimes laughed when he made a quip but we certainly weren’t laughing when under a barrage of abuse.”

Another accuser, Annette Clancy, said Mr Colgan "clearly does not see his words or actions as being inappropriately sexual or construable as sexually offensive. His apology attempts to minimise the appalling suffering and trauma experienced by the women who have come forward."

“In what relationship, personal or professional, is it acceptable to ‘talk down to someone with a womb’? Or assault a woman so that it leaves marks on her body?” Ms Clancy said.

Mr Colgan’s article did not address if he would co-operate with the independent inquiry set up by the Gate Theatre into his time as director.

The Irish Times, which reported on the allegations in detail over a week ago, has made repeated requests to Mr Colgan for comment but he has not yet responded.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times