A Fine Gael councillor has apologised for seeming to suggest that the thousands of water charges protesters who marched in Cork city on Saturday should collect rainwater to drink.
Cllr Laura McGonigle, a Cork city councillor, was writing in response to a post on her Facebook page when she wrote: “They (water charges protesters) should collect all the rainwater while out marching today and drink that for the week.”
McGonigle made the comments as an estimated 10,000 people took to the streets of Cork in protest against water charges.
The remarks caused outrage on social media and have led to calls for Cllr McGonigle to resign from the council.
@LauraMcGonigle The "them" you referred to are the citizens of this country. Your arrogance is disgusting. Shame on you.— Steve (@SM1188) November 3, 2014
@LauraMcGonigle On the basis of your comment Laura, I doubt you are fit for public office.— Dr Tom O'Connor (@justeconomics) November 3, 2014
In a statement released today McGonigle has apologised for her remarks, saying she had left herself open to “misinterpretation.”
I wish to clarify a comment posted by me on my private Facebook account over the weekend. A suggestion had (cont) http://t.co/8ojRZQ44Hb— Laura McGonigle (@LauraMcGonigle) November 3, 2014
“I wish to clarify a comment posted by me on my private Facebook account over the weekend. A suggestion had been made to me earlier that morning that as a nation we should not pay for our water as there was plenty of rain,” said the councillor.
“I was attempting to highlight that rainwater is not safe for drinking and costs the State in the region of €1.2bn per year to treat. I realise that my comments were open to a misinterpretation that I did not intend, I apologise for an offence this may have caused.”
* If you are unable to read the Facebook post you can also see it here.