HOLLY Cairns has said people should ‘call out’ gendered comments as “absolutely unacceptable” rather than ignore them.
The Social Democrats TD was described as an “ignorant little girl” on social media for campaigning against the greyhound industry.
The Twitter post by Wayne McCarthy – which also accused her of “waffle” on the subject – was ‘liked’ by Fine Gael TD Joe Carey.
Mr Carey has since offered his “sincere apologies” to Ms Cairns, saying he was wrong to ‘like’ the tweet.
Mr McCarthy, meanwhile, said he had allowed his “frustration with an inaccurate picture being portrayed of the greyhound industry to boil over” and also apologised to Ms Cairns.
Cork South-West TD Ms Cairns has been campaigning to wind down State funding for the greyhound industry, calling it cruel.
In 2021, the greyhound industry is expected to get €19.2m from the State, including an increase of €2.4m.
Ms Cairns has argued that the reaction to her proposal to reverse that increase showed a lack of arguments in defence of the funding and that “unfortunately, people have resorted to personal attacks on me”.
She said she accepts the apology from Mr Carey.
Ms Cairns also said her initial reaction to the tweet was to ignore it, but that became “impossible” after Mr Carey apologised.
She added: “I suppose the reality is that women in Ireland have gotten used to these kinds of gendered comments and sometimes find it easier to ignore it.
“However, if we continue to ignore it we allow a culture that facilitates this kind of commentary which is absolutely unacceptable, we allow it to continue and we send a clear message to the next generation that it’s better to ignore it and avoid it that way.
“That’s not a good message to send out.
“It is absolutely unacceptable in every situation and we need to start calling that out.”
Ms Cairns said: “We need to see this being denormalised. It’s dehumanising and it’s absolutely not OK.”
She said TDs would have another opportunity this week to reverse the decision to increase funding to the greyhound industry.
She questioned why €19.2m is being pumped into the industry “in the middle of a global pandemic” to support a sector that she claimed “can’t defend itself”.
The issue is to be raised in the Dáil later today and it is expected to be voted on tomorrow.
Source: Irish News