A Fine Gael politician has apologised to Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns for liking a tweet that referred to her as an "ignorant little girl".
Ms Cairns and her party have strongly opposed increases to funding for Irish greyhound racing and have called on the Government to phase out state support for the sector. That sparked a backlash online from those in the industry.
Clare TD Joe Carey liked one tweet on the issue, which referred to Ms Cairns in a derogatory manner and claimed her remarks were "waffle".
"I liked a tweet that was disrespectful to one of my fellow TDs. I should not have done so. It was wrong and I offer my sincere apologises to @HollyCairnsTD," Mr Carey clarified this morning.
Ms Cairns told thethat while it is not funny, she said, "you do have to laugh" at the fact that the only defence that those in favour of greyhound racing have is to go on the attack.
Ms Cairns said: "How is this your defence for €19.2m for a loss-making industry that kills 6,000 dogs a year; how is that what we're talking about, you know, saying that I am a stupid little girl, or whatever? I think it's because they have nowhere else to go."
She said that she had only been made aware of the tweet when Mr Carey tagged her in his tweet, apologising for liking the online comment.
Ms Cairns said: “I accept Deputy Carey’s apology. The tweet he liked referring to me as an 'ignorant little girl' was from a member of the Irish Greyhound Board. I think it is important the Board clarifies their position on the matter.
“I have been struck by the significant amount of hostility I have received after my call for an end to state funding of the greyhound industry. It's clear that the only argument they have is to resort to personalised attacks, that says it all about the industry.”