A petition has called for the resignation of an Irish politician after he said that the vast majority of Muslim immigrants do not want to work.

According to the Irish Mirror, Councillor Séamus Treanor, 69, was reporting on the Monaghan Municipal Council statistics he got from Denmark, when he remarked: "[Denmark] had let in 30,000 of them and five years later 99% of them were on the dole."

The Monaghan-based Northern Sound newspaper first reported his comments and received several letters complaining about his remarks.

An online petition has since been created, calling for  the councillor’s resignation. It has nearly 600 signatures.

The Change.org petition states: “Cllr. Treanor's comments are nothing short of hate-mongering and lies. We feel that local opposition to Cllr. Treanor's position as a Councillor is the appropriate response. Racist speech oftentimes preludes further racist manifestations in society, and there is a real danger in allowing this man to go unchallenged in his current platform, as he uses it as a mouthpiece for hate speech.”

Former TD and council member Paudge Connolly said Treanor’s remarks were made at the meeting after it was proposed that the council should send a condolence letter to the French embassy following the attack in Nice.

Cllr Connolly said: "We were after having a tragedy in the south of France and I proposed we send a letter of condolence to the French Embassy and it was after that that Séamus made his comments.

"We do have free speech – and one of the things about that is that you might not like what you hear."

Councillor Treanor later refused to apologize for his remarks, saying: "I don't take back a bloody word of it."

He added: "The bloody liberal brigade in this country needs a kick up the backside. Britain will stop them coming in now [after Brexit] and the next target will be Ireland."

"Why would they [Muslims] want to work when they're getting handouts? They are coming in droves."

When asked by the Irish Daily Mail if he was accusing all Muslims of being work shy, he answered: "I'm not referring to the medical people who come in; the nurses and doctors, they're fine. But taken all in all, I stand by my position."

He said his comments were based on data, and that "someone looked into it and said on the radio that it was right.”

He said: "If 98% or 99% of them are on the dole in Denmark, then what the hell's different in Ireland?"

Sinn Fein members Sean Conlon and Brian McKenna, who were not in attendance at the meeting, have condemned Councillor Treanor’s comments as "sectarian and inflammatory.”