Allegations of sexism and bullying to be investigated by Fine Gael party bosses

Update 9.10pm: Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone’s allegations of sexism and bullying against a colleague are to be investigated by party bosses, writes Daniel McConnell, Political Editor.

Ms Noone, a member of the industrial and commercial panel, made the allegations at a private meeting of party TDs and senators in Leinster House on Wednesday night.

The party confirmed that its general secretary, Tom Curran, has been informed of the allegations by chairman Martin Heydon.

“Parliamentary Party Chairman Martin Heydon has written to General Secretary Tom Curran regarding an internal matter within the party,” said a statement.

A party spokesman said: “Due process will be followed and the matter will be dealt with swiftly.

“Fine Gael expects party colleagues to treat all with the utmost respect, professionalism and dignity at all times. Any internal party matters are dealt with the strictest of confidence and Fine Gael will not be making any further comment.”

At the meeting on Wednesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar committed to fully investigating the claims, saying that sexism had no place in the party. He said he was disappointed to hear such claims and insisted bullying would not be tolerated within the party.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan also stressed that avenues were available within the party to members with concerns of this nature.

Ms Noone’s intervention at the meeting followed a presentation about the party’s efforts to encourage more women to contest elections for Fine Gael.

Ms Noone’s allegations are the second incident to rock the party in recent months.

In November, Barry Walsh resigned from the executive council of Fine Gael over regrets the tone and language he used in tweets that he has posted. He also accepted that some tweets had caused “serious offence” to many people and I apologise unreservedly for that”.

Mr Walsh came under considerable pressure to stand down after it was disclosed that he had posted abusive and personalised tweets.

The issue was brought to light by Dublin Bay South TD Kate O’Connell, who had also sat on the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment, at a Fine Gael meeting where she presented a series of tweets by Mr Walsh, some of which were directed at her.

Read Daniel McConnell's full report in tomorrow's Irish Examiner.

Earlier:Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Chairman Martin Heydon has written to the General Secretary of the party about a bullying issue.

Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Chairman Martin Heydon has written to the General Secretary of the party about a bullying issue.

Senator Catherine Noone raised concerns about bullying and sexism from a male colleague at a parliamentary party meeting last night.

Senator Noone told her parliamentary party a male colleague regularly talks down to her and is misogynistic.

This evening, Chairman of the PP Martin Heydon has written to General Secretary Tom Curran about the issue.

A spokesperson for Fine Gael says due process will be followed and the matter will be dealt with swiftly.

They say they expect party colleagues to treat all with the utmost respect, professionalism and dignity at all times.

Senator Noone told her colleagues last night the issue had become too much to take.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is understood to have responded strongly to the issue saying it wouldn't be tolerated.

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