FF councillor apologises over Coppinger clothes tweet

Patrick McKee had been criticised by colleague Lisa Chambers for comments about Solidarity TD

A Fianna Fáil councillor has apologised for comments he made about Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger.

Cllr Patrick McKee had been criticised by his colleague Lisa Chambers TD for a tweet he sent on Monday night.

The tweet was referencing an appearance by Ms Coppinger on RTÉ's Claire Byrne programme on the subject of "ring women" appearing in bikinis at sporting events including boxing and mixed martial arts.

Mr McKee wrote: “We live in a “reasonably” liberal democracy. If women want to wear a bikini & take part in sporting events let them. It has nothing to do with you @RuthCoppingerTD. Please just keep your clothes on. Please.”

The comment was criticised by members of Fianna Fáil including Ms Chambers, who said it “falls far below the standard of commentary I would expect from an elected member of the party”.

When asked by The Irish Times about the tweet earlier on Tuesday Mr McKee said he did not see the grounds for an apology.

“Ruth Coppinger has said worse herself with regard to others. If I have caused offence to Ruth, I suppose I am sorry but I believe in freedom to express my opinion and that is my opinion.”

Mr McKee stressed the tweet was critical of her comments during the debate rather than Ms Coppinger personally.

However, later on Tuesday evening he issued a tweet apologising for the tweet saying, “Last evening, during a debate on the Claire Byrne Live Show, I tweeted a personal opinion which referenced @RuthCoppingerTD. I want to apologise to Ruth for any offence caused. It was certainly not intended.”