TD Eamon Ryan, the leader of Ireland's Green Party, apologized today after he used the n-word in the Dáil on Thursday while referencing an Irish Times op-ed on racism in Ireland.

Ryan used the word while speaking out against racism in Irish society and cited an opinion piece that was published today, June 11, in The Irish Times. 

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Sean Gallen, who authored the op-ed for The Irish Times, wrote about his experiences growing up black in Ireland. The n-word was replaced with asterisks throughout his piece.

Speaking during the Statements and Questions and Answers to the Taoiseach session on Thursday, TD Ryan raised the issue of racism in Ireland and how the country can work against it.

Ryan said: "In the newspaper today, there was a young Irish man Sean Gallen giving his experience of being 'othered,' from the age of six being given that name, 'You n*****,' and explaining that sense to him how it completely undermines people."

The Green Party leader has since tweeted an apology for using the racial slur: 

I made a speech in the Dáil today about the scourge of racism in our society. In quoting from an article I read this morning, I repeated a racial slur, and I was completely wrong to do so. I want to apologise for any hurt caused. I know this particular word should never be used.

— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) June 11, 2020

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Green Party councilor Daniel Whooley criticized his party leader in a statement on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. 

Whooley said that Ryan's comments were "morally reprehensible" and that the n-word should never be used regardless of context. 

My statement on Eamon Ryan's comments in Dáil Éireann this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/WZZLBYl1SQ

— Cllr. Daniel Whooley ♻️ (@DanielWhooley) June 11, 2020

Ryan is currently in a Green Party leadership battle with fellow TD Catherine Martin. The current leader reportedly has just 52% of Green Party councilors, with Catherine Martin polling at 48% at present. 

The Green Party is also negotiating a deal to form a Government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael following February's election.  

Read more: Green Party agree to negotiate government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil

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