Martin: Nulty 'did the right thing' by resigning
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that Dublin West TD Patrick Nulty was right to resign after having admitted to sending 'inappropriate messages to female constitutents' - among them a 17-year-old girl.
In his resignation statement Mr Nulty said he had failed to meet the standards he holds for himself - personally and politically.
“I sent inappropriate messages via Facebook,” he said.
“This included inadvertently sending one to a 17-year-old woman. To the best of my knowledge I have never met this woman and the message was sent while under the influence of alcohol.”
It means a by-election in the constituency within the next six months.
The Fianna Fáil leader said Mr Nulty did the right thing by resigning.
"Obviously it's extremely difficult for everybody involved here, particularly for the young girl and her family, who received the inappropriate messages.
"And indeed for Patrick Nulty himself.
"I think he has done the right thing in resigning."
Nulty, a former Labour Party TD, who left the junior coalition government partner last June in a row about the political direction it was taking, apologised “wholeheartedly” to the girl involved and to her family.
“It was never my intention to upset anyone in this way but it was totally wrong,” he said.
The Sunday World newspaper claims Mr Nulty asked a schoolgirl in a late night Facebook message: “Have you ever been spanked?”
The message was sent from Nulty’s Facebook account in the early hours of December 29, 2013, the newspaper reported.
"The shocked youngster wrote back: 'What the f**k?' and the reply she got was the message: 'Only a joke'," the Sunday World said.
It is further alleged that a woman was asked to send underwear in the post and another was urged to wear a skirt when visiting a constituency clinic.
The newspaper said it confronted the TD with “geo-tagging” evidence claiming the messages were sent from inside Leinster House,
Mr Nulty was elected to the Dail in 2011 under a Labour Party ticket, taking the late former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan’s seat.
He lost the Labour Party whip just two months later after voting against the Government;s budget, before resigning from the party completely the following July.
"It's a very unsettling situation and one that I think has taken many people by surprise," Deputy Martin said.
"There is some degre of shock in political circles."