CORK SENATOR Jerry Buttimer hit back at claims that he was making misogynistic comments in the Seanas yesterday.
The session was suspended for 15 minutes after a row broke out after a remark made by Mr Buttimer.
When Fianna Fáil senator Lorraine Clifford Lee interjected in the midst of a debate on the business of the week, Mr Buttimer, Seanad leader, responded: “I know Senator Clifford-Lee is trying to assert herself here but it is important to listen as well.” A number of others took exception to the comments, which Ms Clifford-Lee described as ‘gendered language.’ She added: “Would the Leader have said it if it was a man who sitting where I am?”
A row broke out, with Senator David Norris describing the remark as ‘absolute tripe’, while Mr Buttimer added: “If Senator Clifford-Lee wants to throw things at me that is fair enough, but one thing she cannot accuse me of is that.”
The House was suspended for 15 minutes. After returning, Mr Buttimer refused to apologise and said that he was ‘very upset’ by the comments.
He said: “I make a political charge and the Members of the House will vouch for that. I am disappointed at the remarks by Senator Clifford-Lee. I am definitely not misogynistic and I ask her to withdraw the remark.” Responding she said she would not be withdrawing any of her comments.