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'My comments were clumsy': Drugs minister sorry for RTÉ cocaine comments

Frank Feighan had said people in RTÉ were ‘snorting cocaine all over the place’.

Frank Feighan alongside Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh.
Frank Feighan alongside Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE MINISTER OF State with responsibility for drugs policy, Frank Feighan, has apologised after claiming that public officials and people in RTÉ are “snorting cocaine all over the place”.

The comments, reported by the Sunday Independent, were made in a local radio debate during the general election campaign. 

“We are now in an epidemic and we have to deal with it, and public officials and people in RTÉ are snorting cocaine all over the place,” he said. 

“Yes, and they are talking, let’s be honest, they are talking about… everybody who is taking cocaine is adding to the crime problem, is funding that serious issue of crime gangs and we can’t have it both ways.”

He declined to withdraw or apologise for the comments when contacted by the paper. 

However, this evening, speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime programme, he said that he now wanted to withdraw his remarks. 

“I shouldn’t have focused on any one organisation. Especially RTÉ has done so much to promote the damaging effects of drugs on our society over the years,” he said. “My comments were clumsy and unfair and I’m only too happy to withdraw them.”

“Drugs are an aspect of every part of society in our country from the very very top to the very very bottom. And again it’s not just one issue or one company’s issue, it’s an issue we all have a responsibility to deal with it,” he continued. 

“I have to brush up on my correct terminology,” Feighan added. 

The new government has had a particularly rocky start. Agriculture minister Barry Cowen was forced to apologise to the Dáil after it was revealed that he had received a drink-driving ban. 

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“It is a source of deep regret. My actions have reflected poorly on the work of elected representatives and on my part,” he said last night. 

The Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher was also forced to apologise for not self-isolating when he returned to Ireland from Brussels last week for the election of Micheál Martin as taoiseach. 

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