Former Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes has said it was not his intention to imply that everyone who lives in the border area would turn to violence.
The former TD made comments in the RTÉ documentary Quinn Country, a three-part series examining the career of businessman Sean Quinn (pictured above.)
In the documentary, Mr Dukes said: “I’m not saying they’re different animals to the rest of us.
“But whether they have Provo links or whatever it is, it is something that is nearer to the way they think that it would be to somebody in South Tipperary.”
But his comments have landed him in hot water.
Speaking this morning on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Mr Dukes acknowledged that his comments were not well phrased.
He said: “I shouldn’t have said it in the way that I said.
“What I meant to convey was that the protests that were there and the emotion that was there, were seized upon by people who are violent and who carried out acts of sabotage and despicable personal violence against people. And I deplore that.”
Mr Dukes said that people in border counties were not violent people, but that they have suffered more from violence than people who live in other parts of the country.
He added that he hoped those who were offended by his comments would accept that he does not believe that people in border counties are violent.
Sinn Féin TD for Cavan-Monaghan Matt Carthy said Mr Dukes’ comments had caused “hurt and offence and anger”.