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Barry Walsh resigns from Fine Gael executive council over abusive tweets

Barry Walsh, pictured at a Fine Gael conference in 2009
Brendan Hughes

A FINE Gael member has apologised and resigned from the party's executive council over abusive remarks against women he posted on Twitter.

Barry Walsh was criticised over tweets referring to several female politicians and abortion campaigners in derogatory terms.

In one message, Mr Walsh described Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald as a "stupid bitch", and in another he also called Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall a "bitch".

Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell made a complaint to the party about the comments referencing her and other women.

In a letter, Mr Walsh yesterday said he was resigning with immediate effect, adding: "I deeply regret the tone and language I used in some of my tweets."

He said he hoped it would bring an end to the "trial by media" that has "placed intolerable pressure on my family and friends".

He added that he realised that some of his remarks "have caused serious offence to many people" and apologised unreservedly.

Mr Walsh was one of 28 members on Fine Gael's national executive.

Earlier, taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it would be best if he stepped down from his role.

Speaking in Sweden, Mr Varadkar said: "There are lots of trolls, lots of nasty people and lots of horrible language on Twitter but I expect Fine Gael officers to set a higher standard."

The taoiseach also confirmed that disciplinary procedures were under way following Ms O'Connell's complaint.

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