You know what “horseplay” is – it’s when an adult man pulls an adult woman onto his lap when both of them are at work.

THE general secretary of Fine Gael has criticised party TD Tom Barry for his “unacceptable” and “inappropriate” actions in pulling a female party colleague onto his lap during the Dail abortion debate.

In a rare public statement, Tom Curran revealed that he had watched the footage of the incident, which has gone viral.

He insisted that the characterisation of the incident as “horseplay” by Fine Gael figures did not reflect how the party viewed it.

This morning, party officials described the incident as being “silly” and “clearly horseplay”.

However this afternoon, Mr Curran said the party did not view it this way and and branded it as “unacceptable”.

“One deputy’s actions were unwelcome to another deputy. If it happened in any other workplace, it would be unacceptable.

“That it happened on the floor of Leinster House makes it more so,” he said.

It’s strange that this seems to be so challenging for some people.


  1. Gretchen Robinson says

    It was the use of force that makes it wrong, unethical, and abuse. Kind of like when George W. Bush came up behind and grabbed German Chancellor Angela Merkel. If anyone does that to me, I’ll slug them. I had to endure too much of such “horseplay” as a kid.

    The more indefensible the action, the more they try to say women have no sense of humor, can’t take a joke, that the man was just high-spirited and ‘caught up in the moment’– Not.

  2. jmb says

    Conservatives, whether in Ireland or in Texas, just don’t have any concept of women as real persons to be treated as equals with the same respect for bodily boundaries that they grant to men. Which is why it took so much heartbreak so many years after the X Case to even get this much leeway wrung from the Catholic-backed laws.

  3. says

    I don’t think for one moment that the “Horseplay” / Lapgate scenario should have been played down by TDs at the very outset. I know it’s understandable that the latter simply may have wanted to brush it aside, during the long awaited, important historic abortion bill duties. Nonetheless, it is a situation where women are concerned and it should have been up for serious discussion from the word go. Not just because it happened in the Dáil Chamber is it not acceptable behaviour. It should not be acceptable behaviour anywhere, even in the lowliest of workplaces.

    The incident, which occurred at approximately 3:00am during the Protection of Life Pregnancy Bill debate, prompted the National Women’s Council to describe Irish politics as “a woman-unfriendly place” and say that all political chambers should be free from sexist behaviour.

    Tom Barry TD (Teachta Dála = Deputy to the Dáil) FG (Fine Gael) it appears, apologised after he was caught on camera. Soon thereafter he stated that he didn’t even know it was being televised. Of course he didn’t know, as he pointed out to the media that he had drink taken at that time. Anyway, whether it was televised or not, is neither here not there, he should not have treated Aine Collins, TD (FG), a work colleague in that fashion. It also says a lot about the drink culture in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Not to mention drink taken during an historical debate concerning women.

    Tom Barry is apologising on one hand, yet, on the other, insists it was “horseplay'”? De nile is in Egypt, Tomboy! TB “feels” upset over the “sexist” claim. See: it’s still about “his” fee fees. If Aine Collins wants to help other women she should not fall for his ‘good friend’ line. If he really cared about his colleague he would not have treated her as an object for his ‘foolish’ “horseplay'” desires. “Horseplay” meme is a ‘foolish’ cop-out, Tomboy. Own up, will ya, for god’s sake?

    Instead of looking forward to promotion in the Fine Gael party, as all politicians are wont to climbing the ladder, the chances of that happening are now very slim for the first time around elected TD. Sure, even the wife at this stage is calling TB an ‘eejit’. I wonder too will the Co Cork close-knit community electorate be saying the same thing when he arrives on their doorsteps to be re-elected? Or will they pretend to play along with him in thinking, ‘ah, sure ’twas only “horseplay.”

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