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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Senator apologises 'unequivocally' for describing Taoiseach as 'autistic'

A Fine Gael senator who described the Taoiseach's performance in a debate as "autistic" has withdrawn the remark and apologised.

Catherine Noone made the comments about the Taoiseach’s performance on last week’s Virgin Media debate while she was canvassing in Dublin.

Leo Varadkar defended his reaction to issues such as health and homelessness during the debate, denying that he lacked empathy. However, Ms Noone said he is "uncomfortable socially" and added: "He's autistic like, he's on the spectrum, there's no doubt about it."

Ms Noone issued a statement this morning apologising for her comments.

"I unequivocally apologise and withdraw all of my remarks, as reported by theTimes.ie, which were completely unacceptable," she said.

My choice of language was inexcusable and wrong. I am truly sorry.

She said she will not be making any further comment.

When contacted initially about the quote, she denied that she used the word, but when told there was a recording she said she didn't mean it literally.

"I didn't mean it in the sense of the actual illness or anything. I just mean he can be a bit wooden and lacking in empathy," she told The Times, Ireland Edition.

She compared her use of the word 'autistic' to other words she claims are used out of context, such as 'special' and 'n***er', before clarifying she would never use the N-word.