The Chinese community in Ireland has announced it will "forgive" a remarkable comment made by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, which some have called racist.
Martin, who was the Irish foreign minister until last month, astonished his listeners in Dublin when he mimicked a Chinese accent while discussing Fianna Fail's jobs plan.
On Monday Martin apologized again for his actions and any offence he may have caused.
"I made a comment in a manner I shouldn’t have," Martin told the press. "I was making a serious point about how Ireland is seen in the world as a leader in software. If anyone was in any way offended I of course apologise."
Martin made several trips to China during his 14 years as a cabinet minister and was discussing business opportunities with China when the incident occurred.
In a crude attempt to speak with a Chinese accent, Martin said that on his visits to China he heard a constant refrain from their officials: "You Irish very good at software."
Doctor Katherine Chan Mullen, chairwoman of the Irish-Chinese Information Centre, said the Chinese community in Ireland would not feel insulted by Martin’s attempt to mimic the accent.
"We forgive him,” Doctor Chan Mullen said, putting the incident down to cultural differences.
An estimated 60,000 Chinese-speaking people live in Ireland. The Chinese embassy in Dublin declined to comment on the Martin incident.
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