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TD insists calling rival 'Little Miss Twitter' is not sexist

Sitting TD Finian McGrath and Fine Gael candidate Stephanie Regan are at loggerheads.

18/9/2012 Dail Scenes Finian McGrath Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A SEXISM ROW has broken out between two Dáil candidates in Dublin Bay North after one referred to the other as ‘Little Miss Twitter’ during a local radio interview last week.

Sitting independent TD Finian McGrath described Fine Gael candidate Stephanie Regan as ‘Little Miss Twitter’ in an interview with Near FM last Thursday.

His comments were made in the course of speaking about the campaign against the erection of a protective seawall along the coastline looking out at Dublin Bay and Dollymount.

Regan is among those seeking to stop what campaigners say is the blocking of “iconic views” of the lagoon, Dollymount and the wider bay area.

When Regan’s campaign was raised with McGrath towards the end of his interview with Near FM he asked: “That’s Little Miss Twitter, is it?”

I call her Little Miss Twitter. She’s been tweeting against me for the last… and I’d like you to remind her if you get a chance, I’ve been involved in Dublin Bay, the protection of Dublin Bay, for 20 years.

Regan, who appeared on the same programme shortly after McGrath, but did not hear his interview nor have his remarks put to her, said she was “appalled” by the “sexist” comments.

“You don’t get on radio and be loose-tongued and slag anybody off. I think it’s chauvinistic. I think he let himself down. I don’t accept that kind of behaviour,” she told TheJournal.ie.

She added: “I think he dismissed my comments because it suited him better to dismiss me and to use the female line.

photo stephanie regan Stephanie Regan

He did that because he didn’t want to refer to what I’d achieved, that’s politics but don’t use sexist comments… it’s very unprofessional, massively unprofessional.

However, McGrath rejected claims his remarks were in anyway sexist, saying he uses the phrases ‘Little Miss’ or ‘Little Mister’ regularly.

That to me is an overreaction to a light-hearted interview. If she’s going to take life that seriously it’s time to come into the real world. I was having a bit of fun, it was tongue and cheek. That’s the way I am and I don’t think it’s sexism.

Regan said she has collected over 1,000 signatures for her petition to stop the construction of the seawall along James Larkin Road.

The Fine Gael hopeful said she did not know what tweets McGrath was referring to.

Last month, Regan thanked McGrath for joining in the campaign against the seawall, but it was pointed out to her by another user that sitting TD has been involved for many years:

It was this tweet which McGrath said he was angry about, insisting he had been involved in the Dublin Bay issue for 20 years.

I thought she had a brass neck, I got elected on the Dublin Bay issue. I was endorsed by Sean Dublin Bay Loftus. The more I think about this the angrier I am getting.

McGrath is holding a public meeting on the issue this week.

He reiterated that there was no way that his remarks were sexist and said he knew Regan and gets on well with her.

Regan said McGrath’s comments were “very personal and insulting” and said it underlined the challenge facing women candidates in her constituency.

Read: Dubliners worry this view will be blocked by a seawall that’s ‘sprung up like the Berlin Wall’

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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