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Shane Ross apologises for saying Sinn Féin TD was ‘like a donkey’

Imelda Munster accused the minister of resorting to name-calling, while Ross says the statement was an analogy.

Updated Mar 6th 2019, 6:30 PM

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

TRANSPORT MINISTER SHANE has apologised this evening for saying Sinn Féin’s Imelda Munster was “like a donkey in the last race at the last fence” unlike her “thoroughbred” party colleagues Pearse Doherty and Aengus O Snodaigh.

The minister said he was “sorry for any offence caused by my analogy” adding that he was “caught up in the heat of the debate”. 

During a debate on the green card for motorists issue in the Dáil today, Munster said other ministers had managed to resolve Brexit issues for their own department, but criticised Ross for not sorting out the issue of green cards, which drivers travelling to the North will be required to have post-Brexit. 

Responding, Ross said he had “a very sensible discussion” about green cards with two of Munster’s colleagues, Pearse Doherty and Aengus O Snodaigh.

He added:

They were mature, they were sensible and they were constructive. As I said, I thought what they were doing before the Deputy came in last night – and she was late again today – what they were doing was something very constructive. We could not agree to what they were doing because it was not in our power but they were representing their communities extraordinarily well.
They were like thoroughbreds in a horse race. You came in, as you normally do, you are like a donkey at the last fence.

The Leas-Ceann Comhairle Pat the Cope Gallagher interjected, stating: “Minister”. 

He called on him to use parliamentary language. 

Ross said: “She upset the whole apple cart.”

At this point, Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson, Robert Troy said: “That is disgraceful.”

Munster accused Ross of getting personal, and accused him of being incompetent.

“If he wants to get personal to mask his incompetence that is fine. I can take it,” she said, adding:

He is a disgrace.

The debate continued, with the Leas Ceann Comhairle telling the minister to “forget about the word donkey”.

‘An analogy’

The minister explained that “it was just an analogy… made by her colleagues and, as is so typical, she came in and ruined the debate”.

While the Leas Ceann Comhairle acknowledged that, he added that “it does not sound good”.

Munster said the minister did not make any effort at all on the green card issue. However, Ross said that accusation was “simply untrue”.

He said his department and the government have represented the case that the green card is unwelcome and “we do not want it”.

“Of course we do not want it but it is an EU decision,” he added, stating: 

We take every opportunity we get to ask the EU to remove it. The Deputy comes in here and says nothing at all is being done. She is speaking from the basis of total ignorance.

In a statement following today’s debate, Munster accused the minister of resorting to name-calling in the chamber. 

She called on the minister to apologise, stating:

“I don’t think that this is an appropriate way for the minister to conduct himself. What message does this send out to other women who may have an interest in getting involved in politics? I believe that Minister Ross should apologise for his distasteful remarks.”

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