Fine Gael bullying row settled, TDs told

Catherine Noone tells party colleagues she wants to ‘get back to focusing’ on her work

Senator Catherine Noone alleged she was subject to misogyny by a male colleague for a number of years. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/THE IRISH TIMES

Senator Catherine Noone alleged she was subject to misogyny by a male colleague for a number of years. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/THE IRISH TIMES

 

An internal row in Fine Gael over allegations made by a female senator of sexism and bullying against a party colleague has been settled.

Catherine Noone, who made the allegations at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party two weeks ago, told TDs and senators on Wednesday night that the issue had now been dealt with.

Sources Ms Noone read from a statement at this week’s meeting of the parliamentary party in which she said she wanted to “get back to focusing on her work”.

This means that no formal disciplinary action will be taken.

It is understood Ms Noone decided against making a formal complaint after initial inquiries by Fine Gael headquarters.

Ms Noone told the parliamentary party meeting two weeks ago that she could no longer put up with the colleague who she alleged was bullying her, and accused him of “talking down to her”.

She said she had been subject to misogyny by the male colleague for a number of years, but alleged that it had grown progressively worse over recent weeks.

At the same meeting, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was disappointed to hear such claims and insisted bullying would not be tolerated. Mr Varadkar added he wanted to investigate the matter further.

The inquiries were handled by Tom Curran, the party general secretary, and Martin Heydon, the chairman of the parliamentary party, with assistance from the external consultants.

The Senator said she had spoken to Mr Heydon about the issue previously, but felt recent events had warranted a response from the party. Both Ms Noone and the man she made allegations against were interviewed last week, it is understood.