It was initially excused as “horseplay” by Fine Gael - behaviour more befitting of a bar that the Dail chamber.
But as the furore over the Deputy Tom Barry pulling party colleague Aine Collins onto his lap incident grows, the party has finally grasped the seriousness of the situation.
Fine Gael did their best to brush it off as little more than fun between friends. Deputy Barry apologised and the party spun the line Ms Collins was not offended after she was grabbed by Mr Barry during the late night abortion debate.
However, instead of clearing matters up by shrugging it off, Fine Gael only made it worse.
Having reviewed the video footage, party secretary Tom Curran finally got the picture.
“I wish to make it clear that the instinctive characterisation last night of the incident as ‘horseplay involving two people’ doesn’t reflect how Fine Gael views this kind of behaviour, having seen the footage.
“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.
“Deputy Tom Barry’s apology to Deputy Aine Collins makes it clear he understands the inappropriateness of his actions. We welcome his apology and the fact that Deputy Collins has accepted it.”
Deputy Collins has yet refused to comment.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the National Women's Council of Ireland, Eoin Murray, said stricter guidelines need to be put in place in Leinster House on what behaviour is appropriate.