Waterford Junior Minister John Halligan has said he has not considered resigning, despite finding himself mired in two different controversies in the space of a week.
There have been calls for him to step down as a Minister of State after he asked a woman if she was married and had children during a job interview.
A Government department has been ordered to pay the woman €7,500 in compensation.
John Halligan, who is currently in Thailand on government business, has apologised – he said his questions were ‘well intentioned’. In an interview with Sean O’Rourke on Radio One he also said he’s willing to pay the fine and the legal costs out of his own pocket.
However, speaking on Deise Today John Halligan’s brother Brendan gave an impassioned defence of his brother and said he should not pay the fine:
“because I think the dictat that came down from the Workplace Relations Commission, they were fundamentally wrong for making that sort of payment for that sort of discrimination. He was wrong to ask those questions it was inappropriate and careless – did he deliberately do it? No…John Halligan is the last person that would discriminate against a woman”.
The discrimination case is the second controversy the Waterford TD has found himself in in the space of a week.
A plan to go on a ‘peace-building mission’ to North Korea with his Independent Alliance colleagues Shane Ross and Finian McGrath was met with widespread ridicule, and the trip has now been abandonded.
John Halligan says despite the controversies and calls for him to go, he has not considered resigning:
“I think I’m doing a good job as Minister..I believe in what I’m about…I’m determined to keep doing what I’m doing… of course that’s up to the Taoiseach and if the Taosieach doesn’t want me, then that’s fine”.