“I have put my two hands up and said I am sorry. It won’t happen again. I did a really stupid thing but I had no intention of offending anyone or being sexist,” said the Cork East TD.
The incident took place just before 3am in the chamber on Thursday as TDs gathered for a vote on the abortion legislation. A video capturing Mr Barry pulling Áine Collins on to his knee became an internet sensation.
Speaking from Dublin yesterday morning, Mr Barry said he “was getting hammered” but he “deserved it”. He said he would go home soon to his wife Dr Kathleen Quane, a lecturer in anatomy at UCC. The couple live in Killavullen and have three children.
Last month, Mr Barry, a regular Mass-goer who initially had serious concerns about the abortion legislation, spoke of how he had been given assurances by Catholic Church leaders that he would not be excommunicated for supporting the bill. He said he received “a very decent letter” from Cardinal Seán Brady assuring him he would still be welcome in the Church but outlining the Church’s stance on the then-proposed legislation.
Cork TD Áine Collins has said she is embarrassed about the incident but that she does not believe she was mistreated.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner yesterday, she said: “I’m finally getting to Cork. We’re all tired, it’s been a long week and I want to get away from it all.”
Asked if her husband had said anything about the incident, she replied: “I haven’t really spoken to him yet. It’s just been a very long week.”
Asked if she felt she had been mistreated, the Cork North West TD replied: “No. It was unfortunate. I just want to get away.”
She said it was “factually correct” to say she was embarrassed by the whole incident. Ms Collins said Taoiseach Enda Kenny had spoken to her about the incident. She said she did not want to comment further on the issue.