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Fine Gael councillor 'incredibly sorry' for telling protesters to collect rainwater and drink it

Laura McGonigle made the remarks on her private Facebook account at the weekend.

Updated 4.45pm 

A FINE GAEL councillor has said she is “incredibly sorry” for saying that water charges protesters should collect rainwater while out marching and drink it for a week.

Laura McGonigle, a Cork city councillor, made the remarks on her personal Facebook account at the weekend.

The comments were made as tens of thousands of people took to the streets around the country, including in Cork, to protest against Irish Water and the introduction of water charges.

The comments were subsequently deleted from her account but several screenshots have been circulating on social media today:

LMcG Source: Rabble via Facebook

In a statement issued on her Twitter account this morning, McGonigle said she wished to clarify her comments and apologise for any offence that may have been caused:

I wish to clarify a comment posted by me on my private Facebook account over the weekend. A suggestion had been made to me earlier that morning that as a nation we should not pay for our water as there was plenty of rain. I was attempting to highlight that rainwater is not safe for drinking and costs the State in the region of €1.2bn per year to treat. I realise that my comments were open to a misinterpretation that I did not intend, I apologise for an offence this may have caused.

Contacted by TheJournal.ie earlier, McGonigle expanded on her statement, saying she was “very sorry for any offence or upset caused by ill-judged comments”. She added:

“I never intended to upset anyone. There was no intention on my part to insult anyone, and if anyone felt insulted I am incredibly sorry.

“I understand why people are protesting and I fully support their right to do so. I don’t feel I can usefully add to this, other than to say again that I’m sorry. I’ve been overwhelmed by the commentary which my comments have caused.

McGonigle has been a councillor for the South East Ward in Cork city since 2009 having originally been co-opted onto the city council in 2007.

First published 12.19pm

Fine Gael: We don’t buy Facebook ‘likes’

Read: Drogheda mayor left Fine Gael over Irish Water’s ‘cronyism, bonuses, allowances and privatisation’

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Hugh O'Connell

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