By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Reporter
Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has hit out at a party councillor who claimed lesbian couples who have babies are "gross", saying the views are "unacceptable, completely" and do not represent the party.
Responding to comments made by Roscommon-based councillor Paddy Kilduff this afternoon, Mr Martin said he has already spoken to his colleague about his views "quite some time ago" and that he does not want them to be repeated.
In a newspaper report this morning it emerged that during a marriage equality referendum debate last February Mr Kilduff said lesbian couples who have babies are "gross" and that "personally I won't be voting for it".
The long-standing councillor said that while he has "no problem with gays and lesbians, the problem I have is with the children".
Speaking before the marriage equality referendum was passed in a landslide public vote, he said in such a family, children "won't know who's who and when you have two women having babies and artificially inseminated... it's gross, it's gross.
"So I won't be supporting it in anyway, so you can take that back to Dublin."
Mr Kilduff had prefaced the comments by saying he believed Fianna Fáil had co-operated too much with Fine Gael and Labour on similar issues such as the 2013 abortion-related protection of life bill, which he opposed.
However, despite the latest furore within Fianna Fáil over marriage equality, party leader and Cork South Central TD Micheal Martin this afternoon insisted Mr Kilduff's remarks are "unacceptable, completely" and do not represent the political group.
"They're unacceptable, completely, and they're very much against Fianna Fáil party policy," Mr Martin told Newstalk's Lunchtime programme.
"We obviously have individuals in the party who had and have reservations about marriage equality, but the overwhelming majority of the population are very supportive of it.
"In the very first Ard Fheis of my leadership, the Ard Fheis passed a resolution in support of marriage equality...I was one of the very first leaders out after the 2011 general election to call for a referendum and I was very strong, with many party members in support of marriage equality.
"I think Paddy Kilduff has his views, they're well known, but I think these were made some time ago and I made it very clear to him quite some time ago what party policy was," he said.
A Fianna Fáil spokesperson said the councillor was speaking in a "personal capacity".
The Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency, where Mr Kilduff is based, was the only area of Ireland not to pass the marriage equality referendum, voting by a slim margin of 51.42% to 48.58% against the Government proposal.