An Irish politician has been forced to resign after it emerged he had been sending “inappropriate” Facebook messages from inside parliament.
The Independent TD (Teachta Dála) Patrick Nulty said he was standing down with immediate effect last night, just hours before the publication of a Sunday newspaper containing the allegations.
According to the Sunday World, the 31-year-old parliamentarian sent a late-night message to a 17-year-old schoolgirl asking; “Have you ever been spanked?”
The newspaper said Mr Nulty claimed his phone had been “hacked”, until it presented him with geo-tagging evidence suggesting the messages were sent from within Leinster House, home of the Irish parliament.
Issuing a statement, the politician said: “I sent inappropriate messages via Facebook,
“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.”
The 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 also 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.
Mr Nulty was elected to the Dáil, the lower house of the Irish parliament, in 2011 under a Labour Party ticket, taking the late former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's seat.
In his statement he said the message was entirely inappropriate and that he took full responsibility for his actions.
“I set myself the highest standards personally and politically,” he said.
“Unfortunately due to personal mistakes I have not met those standards in this matter and I will take responsibility for that.”
Mr Nulty thanked his family, friends and supporters.
“In politics people very often do not take responsibility for their actions,” he said.
“I hope I am doing that. I would further like to apologise to my constituents in Dublin West for my mistake.
“I hope they will understand my reasons for resigning and accept my apology.
“I hope that as I have taken decisive and direct action on this matter my privacy will now be respected in what has been a very difficult decision for me personally.”