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New Young Fine Gael chairman says his 'coathanger abortion' comment was 'atrocious'

Killian Foley-Walsh was elected over the weekend to lead the youth wing of the party.

THE NEWLY ELECTED chairman of Young Fine Gael says he doesn’t remember sending a tweet which referenced women having abortions using “coathangers and stairs” – but says it was an “atrocious” comment.

The tweet still appears on his account.

Killian Foley-Walsh was elected over the weekend to lead the youth wing of the party, having been National Secretary and Director of Communications in the organisation.

His election prompted party members to alert TheJournal.ie to the existence of a tweet sent by Foley-Walsh in 2015 which argued against the use of abortion pills and referenced coat hangers.

PastedImage-86297 Source: Twitter

When the wording of the tweet was put to Foley-Walsh, he said:

“Oh dear. I don’t remember saying that, but if I did it’s an atrocious thing to say.

“I would say that I have matured since it was sent and that evolution has come from the experience of life.”

Foley-Walsh said that he is anti-abortion and is happy to be in the “broad church” of Fine Gael, where he says all personal beliefs are respected. He does not, however, see his views as out of step with the main party.

“Young Fine Gael members should get involved in the campaign as they see fit – that’s the point of YFG being neutral in the campaign.”

It is not the first time that a tweet of Foley-Walsh’s has come in for scrutiny. Last year he was criticised for telling a homeless man to “stop whinging” – though he says he did not know the man’s situation at the time.

“It was a lesson, certainly,” he told TheJournal.ie about the backlash.

“There were leaflets doing the rounds about me, and it brought a lot of abuse to me online. But I’ve been through the national spotlight and it makes you grow.”

Foley-Walsh says that he wants to expand YFG beyond colleges and increased recruitment of women and new Irish citizens in his term as chair. He says the youth party “has a job of work” to do amid a decline in numbers across youth political wings.

He said that some young people had become sick of party politics, but said that he would encourage them to become involved.

“It’s about a passion for this country and for seeing youth policies represented at a national level. It can be tough, but it is rewarding.”

He said that he felt senator Marie Louise O’Donnell’s comments that young people should stay out of politics were “beneath her office”.

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