A brief history of Irish political sex scandals

Politicians have been having ill-advised sex since the beginning of time. The advent of the internet, mobile devices and social media is changing the way politicians indulge in their sexual peccadilloes and how they get caught out.

Unless you happen to be the former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, politicians as a rule don’t want the public to know what floats their boat. Especially Irish politicians. In fact, until last night no Irish politician (in the republic anyway) has resigned over anything in relation to a sexual matter. In 86 years only seven Irish TD’s have resigned on a matter of principle or controversy.

Congratulations to Patrick Nulty. The former Labour Party TD will be written into the annals of Oireachtas history as the first member of parliament to resign because of sex and social media. What we know – He allegedly messaged a 17-year-old schoolgirl on Facebook. He asked the 17-year old to play a game of “truth or dare”. When the girl replied truth, he is understood to have replied: “Have you ever been spanked?”. The schoolgirl wrote back: “What the fuck.” She then received a reply from Nulty saying the message was “only a joke”. The joke was on Nulty, he was also messaging the girl’s mother and she has reported the incident to Gardai. It is also alleged other women were messaged inappropriately. One was asked to send underwear in the post, and another was told to wear a skirt when visiting McNulty’s constituency clinic.

Some of the messages allegedly sent by Nulty.

messagesSunday World/Facebook

Emmet Stagg

In 1994, Emmet Stagg, the TD for Kildare North and the current Labour Party chief whip came to Garda attention while loitering in his car, in an area of the Phoenix Park used by male prostitutes. Stagg, a Minister of State in the Fianna Fáil and Labour coalition government at the time openly admitted his conduct had been ‘undoubtedly indiscreet’ but not illegal. He said while he was aware the man was gay, he was unaware – and had no evidence to suggest that he was a male prostitute. The really surprising thing about the Stagg incident is that he wasnt summarily sacked. Homosexuality was only decriminalised the year before.

Charlie Haughey

It is said the political dog on the street knew about Charlie Haughey’s affair with Sunday Independent gossip columnist Terry Keane. What shocked many people was the manner in which she revealed to the nation her affair with the political prince of darkness. Terry appeared on the Late Late Show to dramatically reveal her secret life with Charles Haughey or as she called him, ‘Sweetie’.

Northern Ireland

I was accused last night of ignoring our northern political cousins in regards to sex scandals. Which was true. I was thinking of sex scandals in the Republic, which are very few and far between. The same can’t be said for our northern cousins who seem to have a sex scandal every few months. When I say our northern cousins, I mean the Democratic Unionist Party. When reading about their various sex scandals, I got the impression these bible thumping holier than thou fundamentalist Christians would get up on a cracked plate.

Arguably the most notorious scandal of them all. Irisgate, was a political scandal involving Iris Robinson, the wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson, who was a serving MP and MLA for the Democratic Unionist Party. Iris was 60 at the time when she had the affair with 19-year-old Kirk McCambley. Iris also solicited £50,000 from two property developers to help Kirk get a café business off the ground. The affair eventually soured. Her hubby found out and Iris tried to take her own life. All this from the woman who compared homosexuality to child abuse, and called homosexuality an “abomination” that made her feel “sick” and “nauseous”.


In 2005, DUP assemblyman Paul Berry made contact with the man through a gay chatroom and sent the man a photograph of himself. The man then recognised Berry as a member of the DUP and contacted the ‘Sunday World’ because of his anger and disgust at the DUP’s stance on homosexuality. Around the same time the DUP had organised a campaign called Save Ulster from Sodomy. Save Ulster from hypocrisy would have been a little more apt.

In January 2013, former Irish rugby international and Traditional Unionist Voice Councillor David Tweed was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for 13 counts of gross indecency, indecent assault of two young girls and inciting gross indecency.

Last year, a former adviser to Northern Ireland MP David Simpson was arrested after a camera was found in the toilets of the MP’s constituency office. David McConaghie, 47, was arrested in relation to filming women in toilets of David Simpsons constituency office. Pervert rating 10/10

In 2010, former DUP councillor William Wilkinson was found guilty of attempting to rape a woman in her Co Antrim home.

In 2011, the wonderfully nicknamed – Glam Pam lewis, a DUP MLA, left her husband for another man following an affair.

It turns out that the biggest Irish political scandals of the last 10 years involved religious politicians that consider themselves more British than Irish. Local DUP political meetings sound like great craic. Prayer, politics and a bit of a feel afterwards. The reality is, some of the above mentioned are sex crimes and not sex scandals and being the in DUP sounds like a bad place for a woman to be.

In the Republic, we turn our noses up at mixing sex and politics and of course the only reason politicians resign is because they are caught. Nulty denied for two weeks that he had sent the messages, he claimed he was hacked. The list of Irish politicians that claim they were hacked grows longer every month.

Inevitably the day will arrive again where a politician will get caught participating in their sexual peccadillo of choice, probably on social media. Some politicians will resign. Others will beg their constituencies and parties for forgiveness in a last-ditch attempt to salvage their careers. Others, however, will choose to claim they are hacked. From here on no TD or Senator is safe. Privacy in matters of the aching loins will not be respected by the tabloids.


About Paul Duggan

Politics, humour, Liberal, Curmudgeon, Rogue. Creator and author of Irish Shades of Grey.
This entry was posted in Irish current affairs, Irish Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A brief history of Irish political sex scandals

  1. Pingback: Northern Ireland over represented in Irish political sex scandals? « Slugger O'Toole

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