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Dublin: 12 °C Friday 22 February, 2019

Kerry councillor apologises to colleague for telling her to 'dye your hair blonde' in order to be noticed

The exchange came during yesterday’s meeting of Kerry’s 33-member county council.

9 John Sheahan (l), chair of Kerry County Council Source: Twitter/Kerry County Council

THE CHAIRMAN OF Kerry County Council has apologised to a fellow councillor for what he has now described as an “inappropriate spur-of-the-moment” comment.

John Sheahan told his fellow councillor, Fine Gael’s Aoife Thornton, that “the only thing now is (to) dye the hair blonde” after Thornton had struggled to gain speaking time at a meeting of Kerry County Council yesterday.

Thornton claimed she had been repeatedly ignored when trying to have her voice heard at the meeting of the 33-member council regarding the state of the roads in her locality, and had even taken the trouble to wear a yellow jacket in order to be noticed.

Speaking to Kerry Today with Jerry O’Sullivan on Radio Kerry this morning, Sheahan apologised for what he had said, but asserted that he feels he “did nothing wrong”.

“But I certainly have no problem apologising to Aoife because I’d hate to think I would do anything to hurt or upset people, that’s not me,” Sheahan said.

Women have a tough deal in politics and we have some great female politicians on Kerry County Council, who are very articulate and well able to do their job.


They do their job very well and hopefully we’ll see more of them in the future.

Sheahan added that the meeting had been “very busy” and said that it had been a challenge to get through the agenda while being fair to all the councillors.

When asked would he have made his comments to a man he said “that’s a very good question”.

“I don’t usually go around commenting on men’s hair. If I could take it back I would.”

He said it had been a “humorous comment” made in an attempt to move the meeting along and that nothing further had been meant by it.

Speaking to the same programme, Thornton later said “I wasn’t happy, I don’t think it was appropriate” regarding Sheahan’s comment.

“Having said that I’ve sat beside John for many years on the council and we have a good working relationship,” she said, adding that she accepted Sheahan’s apology.

We did have a very busy meeting yesterday… but in saying that I wasn’t happy at not being able to speak, but this is politics.
I didn’t take the joke as an insult, although I would have to say it was not appropriate.

“I feel I did nothing wrong,” Sheahan said in response. “But I certainly have no problem apologising to Aoife.”

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