No gang­ing up on John... he’s not sex­ist

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By John Lee and John Dren­nan

AN In­de­pen­dent Al­liance Min­is­ter has de­clared that John Hal­li­gan ‘is not a sex­ist’, and told ‘hyp­ocrites’ to stop gang­ing up on him.

It was re­vealed last week that Min­is­ter for State Hal­li­gan had asked a woman at a job in­ter­view about her mar­i­tal and fam­ily sta­tus.

A WRC hear­ing found Mr Hal­li­gan’s com­ments were dis­crim­i­na­tory and awarded the woman €7,500 in com­pen­sa­tion.

How­ever, his In­de­pen­dent Al­liance col­league Finian McGrath said last night that Mr Hal­li­gan has been harshly treated.

‘John Hal­li­gan is not a sex­ist. There are a lot of hyp­ocrites in­side and out­side the Dáil crit­i­cis­ing John, they’re gang­ing up on him,’ he said.

At the Fine Gael con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Leo Varad­kar said that what Mr Hal­li­gan did was not a ‘hang­ing of­fence’.

‘First of all I think what he did was ab­so­lutely wrong... It has gone to the Work­place Re­la­tions Com­mis­sion which has made a find­ing. He has ac­cepted that find­ing, he’s go­ing to pay that bill him­self, he’s apol­o­gised, he ac­cepted that he was wrong.

‘I think that does bring fi­nal­ity to the mat­ter. I don’t think that is a hang­ing of­fence.’

Mean­while, the MoS con­tacted sev­eral peo­ple who work as as­sis­tants to politi­cians. Many dis­missed Mr Hal­li­gan’s ex­pla­na­tion for his ac­tions.

One source said: ‘We don’t be­lieve it was a fam­ily-friendly ques­tion. If it was he would have fol­lowed up by men­tion­ing his fam­ily friendly work­ing ar­range­ments.’

ON TOUR: Min­is­ter John Hal­li­gan in Thai­land this week with Hon­orary Con­sul Hélène Fal­lon-Wood and Am­bas­sador Brendan Rogers

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