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28th Jan 2020

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone apologises for calling Leo Varadkar ‘autistic’

Alan Loughnane

“I unequivocally apologise and withdraw all of my remarks.”

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone has apologised for calling Taoiseach Leo Varadkar “autistic” during an election canvass this week.

Noone made the comments to a reporter from The Times of Ireland when asked about Varadkar’s performance in last week’s Virgin Media leaders’ debate with Micheál Martin.

She was quoted in The Times as having said: “He’s autistic like, he’s on the spectrum, there’s no doubt about it. He’s uncomfortable socially and he doesn’t always get the inbetween bits.”

Noone apologised for the comments on Tuesday.

“I unequivocally apologise and withdraw all of my remarks, as reported by, which were completely unacceptable,” Noone said in a statement.

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

The Times also reported on Wednesday that Noone also gave examples of offensive words that could be used out of context, such as “special” and “n***er”. But Noone clarified that she would never use the latter word.

She claimed her comments about the Taoiseach had been taken out of context, telling The Times: “Sometimes I say, ‘Oh God, I’m a bit special’ but I don’t mean it to be derogatory.”