In the context I was referring to the enormity of the disaster as opposed to any lack of effectiveness of the Irish Army whom I hold in the highest regard.
This term was hugely inappropriate, and I realise it could have caused offence to Irish Army personnel. None was intended.
For years, I have held, and still hold, the Irish Army in the highest esteem.
GOAL received the assistance of Irish Army officers in our relief effort in Somalia in 1992. Two years later, a large contingent of Army personnel were seconded to GOAL for our relief work in the Kibumba camp after the Rwandan genocide.
In both theatres of operations the Army personnel excelled.
GOAL has recently applied to the Army to have personnel released on secondment for work in Darfur.
I hereby offer an unconditional apology to all Irish Army personnel who may feel disparaged as a result of my comments. If the Government believes Army personnel can assist in the rehabilitation effort in New Orleans, my colleagues and I wish them every success. We know they will do a good job.
On Tuesday I sent a letter of apology to Lt Gen Jim Sreenan, chief of staff of the Irish Army.
PO Box 19