A FIANNA Fáil TD has apologised after saying Ireland should purchase Covid-19 vaccines from the Ku Klux Klan.
Marc MacSharry, TD for Sligo-Leitrim, reportedly made the comments during a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening.
"If the Ku Klux Klan is selling a vaccine, we should buy it," he's alleged to have told his colleagues.
MacSharry said he was simply making the point that Ireland should try and get a hold of Covid-19 vaccines any way it could and from any source necessary in light of recent supply delays.
He later stressed he was sorry for using an "appalling analogy".
"As someone who conversationally uses extreme analogies at times, those who know me know precisely where I am coming from," MacSharry said.
"However the reference to that organisation was wrong and I unequivocally withdrew it and apologised to all present.
"I abhor the existence of such organisations and the outrageous, perverse and criminal positions they adopt.
"I very much regret [my comments], but the essence of the point was to absolutely prioritise our ability to secure vaccine as quickly as possible so we can put the restrictions that the entire country is living with at the moment to an end."
Marc MacSharry tells FF PP the border with Northern Ireland should be closed, and wants Ireland to approach Russia seeking to buy its Sputnik vaccine for COVID-19.
“If the Ku Klux Klan is selling a vaccine, we should buy it,” he says.
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) January 27, 2021
MacSharry's comments come in the midst of disputes between the EU and a number of drug-makers - including AstraZeneca - regarding the provision of vaccines due to manufacturing delays.
The Union had secured deals with a number of a pharmaceutical companies, and countries across the bloc had been preparing to receive their batches of the vaccine.
But manufacturing and production delays have put vaccination programmes across Europe on hold, or has at the very least significantly slowed them.
The EU criticised AstraZeneca after the company confirmed it would not be able to meet the agreed upon number of doses for EU member states.
It means that Ireland is expected to receive around 50% of the doses it was initially promised.
The Ku Klux Klan, commonly shortened to the KKK or simply the Klan, is an American white supremacist hate group whose primary targets, historically, are African Americans.