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'disrespectful' Joe Carey apologises for ‘liking’ tweet describing TD Holly Cairns as an 'ignorant little girl'

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A Fine Gael TD has apologised for ‘liking’ a social media post which described a female politician as an “ignorant little girl” for campaigning against the greyhound industry.

Joe Carey, the TD for Clare, said that liking the tweet about Holly Cairns, the Social Democrats TD, had been wrong.

Ms Cairns has been campaigning to wind down state funding for the greyhound industry, which she said is cruel.

In 2021, the greyhound industry is expected to get €19.2 million from the state, including an increase of €2.4m.

A post on Twitter criticised Ms Cairns' comment against the greyhound industry, and said it was “waffle from an ignorant little girl in a minority party that scraped through on the 55th count.”

It emerged over the weekend that the tweet had been ‘liked’ by Mr Carey.

In a post on Monday morning, the Fine Gael TD said: “I liked a tweet that was disrespectful to one of my fellow TDs. I should not have done so. It was wrong and I offer my sincere apologies to Holly Cairns.”

Mr Carey has previously said that he has “an interest” in greyhound racing and coursing. He told the Dáil in 2016 that his family also had a keen interest and involvement in the sport.

Mr Carey has defended greyhound racing and coursing and claimed that an “anti-coursing lobby” had been spreading misinformation.

Responding to Mr Carey’s apology Ms Cairns said; “I accept Deputy Carey’s apology. The tweet he liked referring to me as an 'ignorant little girl' was from a member of the Irish Greyhound Board. I think it is important the Board clarifies their position on the matter.

“I have been struck by the significant amount of hostility I have received after my call for an end to state funding of the greyhound industry. Its clear that the only argument they have is to resort to personalised attacks, that says it all about the industry,” she said.

Last week, the Social Democrats put forward a motion that would halt a planned €2.4m funding increase for the greyhound industry, and ask the government to instead fund supports for dogs rescued from the industry before eventually phasing out all state funding for greyhound racing by 2025. The motion was successfully blocked by the government.

Ms Cairns said that her party will continue to campaign against state funding for greyhound racing. The Social Democrats TD said that greyhound racing was a “financial basket case” and a “loss making industry” which had suffered a dramatic fall in attendance and public support.

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