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Fianna Fáil senator apologises for derogatory tweets that she says were 'taken out of context'

The tweets, which were posted in 2011, used words such as “knacker” and “Traveller” in a derogatory manner.

Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee
Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee
Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

FIANNA FÁIL SENATOR Lorraine Clifford-Lee has apologised for tweets she sent in the past in which she used the words “Traveller” and “knacker” in a derogatory manner. 

The tweets, which were posted in 2011, surfaced over the weekend on the website Gript. 

A number of the tweets referred to Travellers, with one reading: “I think some pieces are cute but others look like something from a Traveller wedding.” 

Another tweet from July 2011 read: “Just doing up inventory of items in my car when it was stolen by some knacker. I think I’m going to cry.” 

A tweet from September 2011 said: “Was on #dublinbus for the 1st time in about a yr yesterday. Forgotten how much fun it is. A black Brazilian dwarf with ginger hair sat beside me.” 

Senator Clifford-Lee is a solicitor by profession and is the Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil in the Seanad. She’s also the party’s Seanad spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs. 

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Clifford-Lee apologised for the tweets.

“The tweets referred to are from as far back as 2011 and were tweeted long before I became involved in electoral politics,” Clifford-Lee said. 

I want to be absolutely clear, the tweets were wrong and I apologise for any hurt or offence caused by them. 

“Anyone who has worked with me since my election to the Seanad three years ago can confirm the role I played in promoting progressive politics. I also actively supported the marriage equality referendum and the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment,” she said.

Clifford-Lee said that she hopes that the people of Dublin Fingal “will not be distracted” by what she called “personal smear campaigns such as this”.

She also said that the tweets were “taken out of context”.

“I want to be a TD for the people of Dublin Fingal as I know the very real issues that people face every day,” she said. 

“I want this campaign to concentrate on solutions in transport, housing, health, childcare, climate change and protecting our communities from crime.”

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