Leo Varadkar apologises over "sinning priest" comments
The Taoiseach apologised for his comments on Thursday afternoon.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has apologised for comments made towards Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in the Dáil on Wednesday.
Varadkar said Martin is someone "who preaches from the altar, telling us to avoid sin while secretly going behind the altar and engaging in any amount of sin himself".
A number of people, including priests and members of the Catholic Church, were offended by the comments, and what Varadkar appeared to imply.
According to RTÉ, he has since apologised and withdrawn the comments, saying: "I offended people who I never intended to offend. I want to apologise for that and withdraw it.
"I have tremendous respect for priests, for the sacrifice that they give in the lives that they lead.
"And I have tremendous respect for people of faith. You know it didn't come out the way I intended it and sometimes these things happen."
The initial altercation took place as Martin had accused Varadkar of being "partisan and personal", while Varadkar implied these comments were hypocritical, and said that Martin does just that himself.
Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler was among those to criticise the comments made.
"Unfortunately there was no such tolerance or respect shown to the Catholic religion yesterday," Ms Butler said.
"He denigrated the entire Catholic religion".